Egypt summons Turkish envoy over Gaza criticism
Turkey’s PM described Egypt’s president as “tyrant,” saying Cairo could not be relied upon to negotiate a truce with Israel
Egypt’s foreign ministry on Sunday summoned Turkey’s charge d’affaires over criticism of Cairo’s handling of the war between Israel and Hamas in neighboring Gaza, Agence France-Presse reported.
The move comes after Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday called Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a tyrant, saying Cairo could not be relied upon to negotiate a truce with Israel.
The foreign ministry told Ankara’s charge d’affaires that it “rejected and resented” Erdogan’s comments, it said in a statement.
Turkey and Qatar are both regional rivals of Egypt and have good relations with the militant Hamas rulers of Gaza, which rejected an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.
Also, Turkey and Egypt withdrew their ambassadors last year after the military ousted Egyptian Islamist president Mohammed Mursi, who had forged closer ties with Erdogan.
More than 87 Palestinians were killed Sunday as Israeli forces pounded northern Gaza, sending thousands fleeing in terror in the deadliest assault on the enclave in five years.
Sunday’s bloody toll prompted urgent efforts by the International Committee of the Red Cross to broker a temporary ceasefire to allow paramedics to evacuate the dead and wounded in a deal accepted by both sides.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN the operation to destroy a network of tunnels in Gaza could be over “fairly quickly” but would not be pinned down on specifics.
“We’re taking action to neutralize the tunnels and do it as long as necessary,” he said.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Sunday blamed Hamas for the continuation of the conflict in Gaza, saying the Islamic militants were refusing all ceasefire efforts.
“They’ve been offered a ceasefire and they’ve refused to take the ceasefire,” Kerry told ABC television, adding that Hamas has “stubbornly” refused efforts to defuse the conflict “even though Egypt and others have called for that ceasefire.”
He urged Hamas to “be responsible and accept... a multilateral ceasefire without conditions.”
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