Egypt has reacted angrily to statements on Wednesday by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticizing Egypt’s president for his lack of democratic credentials and his alleged killing of thousands of Egyptian citizens.
Continuing a tit-for-tat exchange between the two nations, Erdogan said in a televised interview with Al-Jazeera on Wednesday, “Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has nothing to do with democracy. He killed thousands of his own people.”
On Thursday, Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Ministry responded via Facebook, reminding Erdogan of the difference between a military coup and a full-fledged, nation-wide revolt, in which millions take to the streets to call for the support of the military.
The Facebook post, utilizing a rather biting tone, called into question Erdogan’s ability to “differentiate between a revolution where 30 million Egyptians requested the military’s help and the standard definition of what a coup is.”
The Egyptian statement questions Erdogan’s ability to make sound judgments regarding democracy, saying that his “moral compass” is flawed also.
The recent exchange of insults follows an attempted coup in Turkey last week, in which elements of the Turkish military tried to remove Erdogan from power. The coup was blocked and the Turkish leader is now in the process of conducting a purge of the military and other sections of society that he suspects of disloyalty. According to some reports, around 50,000 people have been arrested.
Egypt’s official response to the attempted coup last week angered the Turkish government. Egypt sought to block a UN Security Council resolution that urged countries in the region to “respect the democratically elected government of Turkey."
Questioning the UN resolution, the Egyptian government stated that the council "is in no position to qualify or label that government — or any other government for that matter — as democratically elected or not."
In addition to the lukewarm attitude of the Egyptian authorities at the time, the Egyptian media prematurely declared that Erdogan had been removed from power, only to find that the Turkish strongman was still very much in charge.
Tensions have been high between the two countries ever since the ousting of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, whose Islamist government was aligned with Erdogan’s political party, the AKP. Tensions continued after the election of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2014 as president of Egypt, with the two nations periodically exchanging barbed comments.
Turkey has questioned Egypt’s democratic credentials since 2013, always referring to Sisi’s presidency as the product of an illegitimate military coup; Erdogan’s statements on Wednesday continue the spat.