Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday lashed out at Egypt’s newly installed president, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, for Cairo’s antagonistic attitude toward Hamas.
When asked about Egyptian mediation efforts aimed at bringing about a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, Erdogan scoffed.
“Is Sisi a party (to a ceasefire)? Sisi is a tyrant himself,” Erdogan was quoted by AFP as telling reporters. “He is not different from the others.”
Turkey has been critical of Egypt’s decision to seal the Gaza-Sinai border crossings. Ankara also opposed the Egyptian military’s toppling of Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi, leading to Sisi’s ascension.
In November, Egypt expelled Turkey’s ambassador from Cairo due to Ankara’s expressed support for Morsi.
“Egypt is not a party, they are trying to legitimize (the Sisi administration) in Egypt. It is not a legitimate administration. It is illegitimate,” Erdogan said.
The Turkish leader, who accused Israel of “genocide” against the Palestinians, slammed Jerusalem’s policy – supported by Egypt and the West – of shunning Hamas.
“Hamas is a party there,” he said.
Earlier Friday, Israel recalled the families of diplomats in Ankara and Istanbul following violent protests outside the embassy and consulate in those cities Thursday night.Friday.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Israel also decided to further reduce its diplomatic entourage in Turkey, which is already small following Turkey's expulsion of Israel's ambassador following the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident.
Rocks were thrown and windows broken during the Thursday night protests, which followed virulent comments made by Erdogan who accused Israel of attempting “systematic genocide” against the Palestinians in Gaza.
In one incident the Israel flag was ripped down from the ambassador's residence in Ankara, and replaced with a Palestinian one.
A statement from Liberman's office said that the Turkish security officials did not take action to prevent the violence, and said that Turkey was responsible for the well-being of the diplomats who remain there. .
Liberman directed the Foreign Ministry to gravely protest the Turkish inaction, a violation of various international treaties meant to protect diplomats.
One official said it was ironic that Turkey wants to now play a role in mediating a cease-fire.