Egypt on Saturday summoned the Turkish charge d’affaires for the second time in a month to complain about comments by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan deemed insulting to the leadership in Cairo, Reuters reports.
In an interview with CNN, Erdogan repeated the phrase that caused offense last time, calling Egypt’s president, former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a “tyrant”.
He also accused Egypt of not being “sincere” over the Gaza crisis, according to Reuters.
In response, the foreign ministry in Cairo said Egypt “expresses its deep rejection of the latest comments made by the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.”
It said Erdogan’s comments included “insults to the president and an issuing of general verdicts that lacked evidence, not objective but based on personal considerations.”
Relations between Egypt and Turkey have soured since the Egyptian army last year ousted the governing Muslim Brotherhood, which Erdogan supports.
Last year, Egypt expelled the Turkish ambassador, accusing him of undermining the country. Ankara responded in kind.
Following Morsi’s ouster, Erdogan condemned the military intervention that toppled the Muslim Brotherhood president as an enemy of democracy, and chastised the West for failing to brand the ouster a coup.
When asked if he still stands by his previous comment that Sisi was an “illegitimate tyrant”, Erdogan told CNN, “Well, he is right now a tyrant, I don’t have any doubts about that.”
Erdogan also said Egypt “at this moment does not have a sincere approach to the Palestine issue.”
This week, Sisi defended his country’s role in trying to broker a Gaza truce between Israel and Hamas, which accuses him of proposing a ceasefire favorable to Israel.
“Egypt has sacrificed, for the Palestinian cause and the Palestinians, 100,000 martyrs,” he said in a televised address, referring to casualties in Egypt’s wars with Israel between 1948 and 1973, before Cairo signed a 1979 peace treaty.
“So it is difficult for anyone to engage in one-upmanship, not just regarding (our role) with the Palestinian brothers but also the Arab region,” he said in a speech to mark the 1952 military overthrow of the monarchy in Egypt.