Turkish President Erdogan lashes out at El-Sisi over Egypt executions

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also attacked Western countries which, according to him, ‘roll out the red carpet’ for his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. (AFP)
Updated 24 February 2019
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Turkish President Erdogan lashes out at El-Sisi over Egypt executions

  • ‘They killed nine young people recently. This is not something we can accept’
  • Relations between Turkey and Egypt have been virtually non-existent since the Egyptian military in 2013 ousted president Mohamed Morsi

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sharply criticized his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi after the recent execution of nine people in Egypt, saying he refused to talk to “someone like him.”
“They killed nine young people recently. This is not something we can accept,” Erdogan said Saturday in an interview with Turkish TV channels CNN-Turk and Kanal D, referring to the execution Wednesday of nine men sentenced for the murder of the Egyptian prosecutor general in 2015.
“Of course, we are going to be told that it is a decision of the judiciary, but there, justice, elections, all that, are codswallop. There is an authoritarian system, even totalitarian,” Erdogan added.
“Now, I am answering those who wonder why Tayyip Erdogan does not speak to El-Sisi, because there are mediators who come here sometimes, but I will never talk to someone like him,” he said.
Relations between Turkey and Egypt have been virtually non-existent since the Egyptian military, then led by El-Sisi, in 2013 ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, a close ally of Erdogan.
Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood is outlawed in Egypt but members of the group have sought refuge in Turkey.
Erdogan, who denounced Morsi’s ouster, sometimes draws a parallel with the failed coup against himself in 2016.
The Turkish president also called for the release of Muslim Brotherhood prisoners in Egypt.
“First of all, he should release all those imprisoned with a general amnesty. As long as these people have not been released, we will not be able to talk with El-Sisi,” he said.
Erdogan also attacked Western countries which, according to him, “roll out the red carpet” for El-Sisi and turn a blind eye to the latest executions in Egypt.
“Where are the Westerners? Have you heard their voices?” he said.
“On the other hand, when it comes to people imprisoned in our country (Turkey), they scream bloody murder.”
Amnesty International condemned the executions of the men, who it said were convicted in trials marred by torture allegations.


Palestine, Egypt offer air support as Israel battles wildfires

A firefighting aircraft flies over a forest near Kibbutz Harel, which was damaged by wildfires during a record heatwave, in Israel May 24, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 May 2019
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Palestine, Egypt offer air support as Israel battles wildfires

  • Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes on Thursday as fires raged
  • The fires were fueled by high temperatures and dry condition

JERUSALEM: Egypt and four European countries sent aircraft to help Israel battle wildfires that have forced the evacuation of some small towns, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday, as a record heatwave looked set to worsen conditions.
At an emergency briefing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had appealed for international help to combat the fires, and that firefighting planes were coming in from Greece, Croatia, Italy and Cyprus.
Egypt, on the orders of President Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi, had also sent two helicopters to assist Israel, Netanyahu told reporters.
The Palestinian Authority and Russia had also offered help, Netanyahu said.
Israel braced for wildfires on Friday amid a major heat wave that shows no signs of abating.
Israel “really appreciates” the help, Netanyahu said, singling out El-Sisi for sending aid.
“I am deeply thankful for the readiness of neighbors to help us in a time of crisis, just as we help them,” Netanyahu said.
Israel’s Fire and Rescue Service said blazes in a key corridor between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were mostly under control but difficult weather remained a conflagration risk.
“As of this moment, this (containment) is being done in the best possible way, but the challenge is yet ahead of us given the weather conditions, the winds and the extreme heat,” Netanyahu said.
Some 3,500 residents of small towns in the path of the fires were evacuated on Thursday, officials said. Dozens of homes have burned down.

Evacuations
Thousands of people were evacuated from towns and dozens of homes were burned on Thursday as fires raged, fueled by high temperatures and dry conditions. Over 500 acres of woodland have burned, said Nitai Zecharya, an Israeli official from the Jewish National Fund, known for planting forests in the country.
Zecharya said that while firefighters had brought most of the blaze under control, officials remained “very stressed” about strong winds fanning flames and “spreading fires to other fronts.”
The cause of the fires remains unclear, but they erupted following the Jewish festival of Lag Ba’Omer, which observers mark with bonfires.
A sweltering heat wave is pushing temperatures in parts of the country up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, or 43 Celsius.