Egypt in spat with Turkey after Ankara slams EU for joining Arab forum
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Egypt in spat with Turkey after Ankara slams EU for joining Arab forum

Speaking at an election campaign rally in Giresun Province on Tuesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the EU’s acceptance of an invitation by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, to the first joint EU-Arab League meeting in the city of Sharm el-Sheikh “shows how insincere” the 28-nation bloc is. “The EU is against death penalties and execution is prohibited in EU member countries. So how can one speak about democracy in these EU states, which accepted the invitation of Sisi, who executed nine young men last week?” Erdogan inquired. The Turkish president also accused Sisi of having executed at least 42 people since coming to power. Separately on Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it was hypocritical for EU leaders to attend the Egypt meeting, noting that they “do not have values; they just have interests.” “The whole EU leadership supporting Sisi and being in the same place as him on the days after these young saplings were martyred, executed is a photograph of exactly what we are saying,” he said. “This is a double standard, it is hypocrisy.” The nine Egyptians were convicted of involvement in the 2015 killing of Public Prosecutor Hisham Barakat. Relations between Ankara and Brussels have been strained, especially since 2016 over the EU’s criticism of the scale of the post-coup crackdown and Turkey’s claim that the bloc failed to show solidarity after the attempted overthrow. Reacting to comments by Turkish officials on Wednesday, Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez rebuked Erdogan for what he called expressing “his continued embrace” of the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Sisi administration has banned. “Turkish President Erdogan once again speaks to us about Egypt and its political leadership, clearly showing hatred,” he said. Hafez also cited human rights accusations against Turkey, including the jailing of journalists and the firing of government employees in the aftermath of the 2016 coup attempt, saying, “This narrative illustrates the lack of credibility of what the Turkish president is promoting.” Wave of condemnations Amnesty International said the victims’ “trials had been marred by torture allegations,” adding that it was just “a testament to the magnitude of injustice in the country.” Additionally, UN human rights experts voiced alarm at the executions, saying, “These convictions appear to be in direct disregard of both Egyptian and international law and procedure.” “We are all the more concerned that several other cases pending in the courts of individuals convicted in similar circumstances and facing the death penalty amid reports of a lack of due legal process,” they said. Furthermore, Ahmed el-Attar of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms emphasized that the Egyptian authorities should have suspended the executions until formal requests for their re-examination were studied. “They (the Egyptian authorities) didn’t follow procedure and carried out the death sentences on all the defendants,” violating “their own procedural laws, Article 448 of the Egyptian Code of Criminal Procedure,” he said in a statement. However, Sisi defended the death penalty during the Sharm el-Sheikh summit, saying the Europeans and Arabs had “two different cultures ... every region has its own circumstances.”

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