Turkey orders Muslim Brotherhood TV channels to stop airing anti-Egypt rhetoric

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Turkish authorities have ordered Istanbul-based TV channels affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood to stop airing criticism geared toward Egypt immediately, sources familiar with the matter said Thursday.

The announcement comes as Cairo and Istanbul have looked at ways to ease tensions between the two, which boiled over in 2013 after Egypt’s army ousted Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Mursi, an ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Cairo has since designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, while Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party supported Mursi’s short-lived Egyptian government. Many Brotherhood members and their supporters have fled to Turkey since their activities were banned in Egypt.

In recent days, officials from Egypt and Turkey have said there is an ongoing dialogue between the two, albeit limited.

Sources familiar with the matter told Al Arabiya that Turkey issued an order for three Muslim Brotherhood channels (El Sharq TV, Watan TV, Mekameleen) to immediately stop airing political shows critical of Egypt and to only air non-political shows and series. Media outlets that have previously positively reported on the Muslim Brotherhood, including Al Jazeera, have not reported on the order.

Penalties will be imposed on those who defy the order; this includes permanently closing down the TV stations.

A tweet from El Sharq TV’s official account read: “To our dear followers, we apologize [for not airing] tonight’s episode of ‘The Streets of Egypt.” No further clarification was given.

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