Egypt expels Turkish ambassador
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Saturday it had asked the Turkish ambassador to leave the country, the state-run MENA news agency said.
The ministry also recalled its Egyptian envoy from Ankara and stated that diplomatic ties with Turkey will be downgraded, replacing ambassadors with a charge d'affairs.
"The people and government of Egypt appreciate the people of Turkey. However, it holds the Turkish government responsible for taking ties between the two nations so far [that] required such procedures to be taken," read the foreign ministry's statement.
The ministry accused Turkey of "offending the will of the people in Egypt" through statements "aimed to incite the international community against the interests of Egypt."
In response to Egypt's decision, Turkish President Abdullah Gul spoke live on state run TRT television saying, "I hope our relations will again get back to its track."
But a Turkish foreign ministry spokesman said Ankara was in touch with the ambassador "and we will respond with reciprocal steps in coming hours".
The conflict between Egypt's interim government and Turkey's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (JDP) government arose following the ouster of Mohamed Morsi who struck up a close alliance with Turkey following his election in June 2012.
His ouster was fiercly criticised by Turkey's Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who repeatedly condemned the crackdown on Islamists that followed Morsi's removal from power.
Egypt has summoned Turkey's ambassador several times since Morsi's 3 July ouster over Ankara's critical statements on the ruling government in Cairo.
Tensions heightened further when both countries cancelled planned joint naval exercises scheduled for October.
On 12 November, the Turkish ambassador was summoned after Turkey called for the release of Morsi after he appeared in court 4 November — his first public appearance since being deposed — to face trial for inciting the murder of protesters.
The interim government in Egypt has accused Turkey of "falsifying facts about the situation in Egypt" and "defying the will of the people."
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