Turkey mulls action against Egyptian preacher for attacking Tunisia's Essebsi
Turkey announced on Friday that it would consider legal action against Istanbul-based Egyptian preacher Wagdy Ghoneim for remarks he made against Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi.
The move came after Tunisia on Thursday summoned the Turkish ambassador to protest against remarks made by Ghoneim in a widely circulated video in which he attacked Essebsi for demanding "full gender equality, including equal inheritance rights for women" in Tunisia.
Essebsi’s comments came in a speech marking National Women's Day on 13 August, which commemorated the promulgation of Tunisia's Personal Status Code in 1956 - a "pioneering" set of laws regulating marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance that profoundly changed the legal status of women in the predominantly Muslim country.
The Turkish ambassador to Tunisia, Omer Faruk Dogan, said on Friday that his government was disturbed by Ghoneim's statements and that Turkey condemns any actions taken by people living on its territory against the Tunisian people and government, reported CNN Turk.
Tunisia's foreign ministry also issued a statement urging Turkish authorities to respond to Ghoneim's remarks and to take measures against him.
Essebsi's statements had also provoked an outcry from Al-Azhar scholars in Egypt, who denounced his calls as "running counter to Islamic teachings".
They also sparked condemnation from Egypt’s loyalist media, with some anti-reformists calling the idea "blasphemous" and others even inciting violence against the Tunisian leadership.
Under the present law, a Tunisian Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim unless he converts to Islam and is given a certificate to prove that.
In April, an Egyptian court sentenced Ghoneim to death in absentia for alleged links with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is deemed by Egypt to be a terrorist organisation.
The Egyptian authorities also presented memoranda to Interpol, asking them to arrest Ghoneim.