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Egypt demands that Turkey recognise 2013 'revolution' to rekindle ties

Once close allies, Egypt and Turkey fell out after Ankara condemned what it calls the 'coup' that toppled president Mohammed Morsi
Egyptians take part in demonstrations against then-president Mohammed Morsi in 2013 (AFP)

Egypt has welcomed moves by Turkey to repair relations between the two countries, but is demanding that Ankara recognise what it calls the “30 June revolution”.

Turkey and Egypt, once close allies, have fallen out in recent years after an Egyptian popular-backed military takeover ousted the country’s first democratically elected president in 2013.

This week, however, Turkey signalled its willingness to thaw relations with Egypt, with Prime Minister Binali Yildirim telling state television on Monday that he wants to see economic and political links strengthened.

“Investors can go to Egypt, and strengthen their investments,” Yildirim told the TRT Haber channel.

“In the future, this could lead to an environment in which relations are normalised, and possibly even to ministerial relations – there is nothing to stop this happening.”

However, Yildirim reiterated Turkey’s stance towards the controversial events in Egypt that led to the ousting of president and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi on 30 June 2013.

“We are very clear when it comes to Egypt – there was a coup against democracy, and a coup against Morsi, who was brought to power by elections.”

Relations between Ankara – ruled by the AKP which supports the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood - and Cairo were officially cut off after Morsi was ousted, which was backed by millions-strong popular protests across the country.

Egypt expelled the Turkish ambassador in November 2013, accusing officials of backing unnamed organisations that were aiming to destabilise the country.

The Egyptian ambassador was then expelled from Turkey, and neither diplomat has been restored.

Responding to Yildirim’s comments this week, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the possibility of normalising relations, but insisted that the starting point for any rapprochement must be a Turkish acknowledgement of the “revolution” that toppled Morsi.

“It must be clear that the recognition of the legitimacy of the Egyptian people's will, represented in the June 30 revolution, is the starting point for improved relations with Turkey,” foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a statement on Tuesday.