Turkey wants to befriend Egypt, still opposes labeling Muslim Brotherhood terrorists

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party proposed on Tuesday establishing a parliamentary friendship group with Egypt, as part of Ankara’s efforts to normalize ties with Cairo.

"Today we will present a motion to the parliament speaker's office to establish a friendship group between Turkey and Egypt," said Bulent Turan, the parliamentary leader of Erdogan's AKP party, the Anadolu state news agency reported.

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Ties between the two countries have been strained since Egypt’s army ousted Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Mursi, an ally of Erdogan, in 2013.

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

Last month, Turkey said it had resumed diplomatic contacts with Egypt.

However, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday Turkey remained opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood being declared "terrorists" by Egypt.

"We are against declaring the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. It is a political movement that is trying to come to power through election," Cavusoglu told Turkish broadcaster HaberTurk.

The Foreign Minister said last week Turkey will send a delegation to Egypt in early May upon an Cairo's invitation, and that he would meet his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry later.

- With AFP, Reuters

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