Egypt hits back at Turkey over EU-Arab summit criticism

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Egypt hit back Wednesday at Turkish criticism of EU leaders for meeting their Arab counterparts in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh just days after Cairo executed nine people.

The foreign ministry accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of partisanship towards the Muslim Brotherhood, the outlawed Islamist movement that Egyptian authorities have said inspired the nine men executed last week to carry out the 2015 murder of the country’s top prosecutor.

His statement “clearly involves hatred and expresses its (Turkey’s) continued embrace and support of the Muslim Brotherhood,” ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said.

He accused Erdogan of hypocrisy, citing a list of alleged human rights abuses by Ankara.

“This ... illustrates the lack of credibility of what the Turkish president is promoting,” Hafez said.

Erdogan had accused the European Union of insincerity on Tuesday for attending the joint summit hosted by his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Sunday and Monday.

“Can we talk about democracy in EU member countries who accepted the invitation of Sisi, who has executed 42 people since he came to power and nine young people last week, although capital punishment is banned (in the EU)?” he asked.

“It is not possible to understand them. The EU is not sincere.”

Since Sisi overthrew elected President Mohamed Morsi, an Erdogan ally, when army chief in 2013, members of the group have found refuge in Turkey as it has faced a sweeping crackdown at home.

Egypt has outlawed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization and handed down death sentences or lengthy prison terms against hundreds of its leaders.

The nine men executed on February 20 were convicted of a June 2015 Cairo car bombing that killed prosecutor general Hisham Barakat following extremist calls for attacks on the judiciary to avenge the government’s crackdown on Islamists.