Turkish President Erdogan lashes out at El-Sisi over Egypt executions

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also attacked Western countries which, according to him, ‘roll out the red carpet’ for his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. (AFP)
Updated 24 February 2019

Turkish President Erdogan lashes out at El-Sisi over Egypt executions

  • ‘They killed nine young people recently. This is not something we can accept’
  • Relations between Turkey and Egypt have been virtually non-existent since the Egyptian military in 2013 ousted president Mohamed Morsi

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sharply criticized his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi after the recent execution of nine people in Egypt, saying he refused to talk to “someone like him.”
“They killed nine young people recently. This is not something we can accept,” Erdogan said Saturday in an interview with Turkish TV channels CNN-Turk and Kanal D, referring to the execution Wednesday of nine men sentenced for the murder of the Egyptian prosecutor general in 2015.
“Of course, we are going to be told that it is a decision of the judiciary, but there, justice, elections, all that, are codswallop. There is an authoritarian system, even totalitarian,” Erdogan added.
“Now, I am answering those who wonder why Tayyip Erdogan does not speak to El-Sisi, because there are mediators who come here sometimes, but I will never talk to someone like him,” he said.
Relations between Turkey and Egypt have been virtually non-existent since the Egyptian military, then led by El-Sisi, in 2013 ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, a close ally of Erdogan.
Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood is outlawed in Egypt but members of the group have sought refuge in Turkey.
Erdogan, who denounced Morsi’s ouster, sometimes draws a parallel with the failed coup against himself in 2016.
The Turkish president also called for the release of Muslim Brotherhood prisoners in Egypt.
“First of all, he should release all those imprisoned with a general amnesty. As long as these people have not been released, we will not be able to talk with El-Sisi,” he said.
Erdogan also attacked Western countries which, according to him, “roll out the red carpet” for El-Sisi and turn a blind eye to the latest executions in Egypt.
“Where are the Westerners? Have you heard their voices?” he said.
“On the other hand, when it comes to people imprisoned in our country (Turkey), they scream bloody murder.”
Amnesty International condemned the executions of the men, who it said were convicted in trials marred by torture allegations.


Iraqi protesters block commercial ports, split capital

Updated 19 November 2019

Iraqi protesters block commercial ports, split capital

  • Iraqi civilians are increasingly relying on boats to ferry them across the Tigris River as ongoing standoffs shut key bridges in Baghdad
  • The Jumhuriya, Sinak and Ahrar bridges connect both sides of the city by passing over the river

BAGHDAD: Anti-government protesters blocked access to a second major commercial port in southern Iraq on Tuesday, as bridge closures effectively split the capital in half, causing citizens to rely on boats for transport to reach the other side of the city.
Since anti-government protests began Oct. 1, at least 320 people have been killed and thousands wounded in Baghdad and the mostly Shiite southern provinces. Demonstrators have taken to the streets in the tens of thousands over what they say is widespread corruption, lack of job opportunities and poor basic services, despite the country’s oil wealth.
Security forces have used live ammunition, tear gas and stun guns to repel protesters, tactics that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday would be punished with sanctions.
“We will not stand idle while the corrupt officials make the Iraqi people suffer. Today, I am affirming the United States will use our legal authorities to sanction corrupt individuals that are stealing Iraqis’ wealth and those killing and wounding peaceful protesters,” he said in remarks to reporters in Washington.
“Like the Iraqi people taking to the streets today, our sanctions will not discriminate between religious sect or ethnicity,” he added. “They will simply target those who do wrong to the Iraqi people, no matter who they are.”
Over a dozen protesters blocked the main entrance to Khor Al-Zubair port, halting trade activity as oil tankers and other trucks carrying goods were unable to enter or exit. The port imports commercial goods and materials as well as refined oil products.
Crude from Qayara oil field in Ninewa province, in northern Iraq, is also exported from the port.
Khor Al-Zubair is the second largest port in the country. Protesters had burned tires and cut access to the main Gulf commercial port in Umm Qasr on Monday and continued to block roads Tuesday.
Iraqi civilians are increasingly relying on boats to ferry them across the Tigris River as ongoing standoffs between demonstrators and Iraqi security forces on three key bridges has shut main thoroughfares connecting east and west Baghdad.
The Jumhuriya, Sinak and Ahrar bridges, which have been partially occupied by protesters following days of deadly clashes, connect both sides of the city by passing over the Tigris River. The blockages have left Iraqis who must make the daily commute for work, school and other day-to-day activities with no choice but to rely on river boats.
“After the bridges were cut, all the pressure is on us here,” said Hasan Lilo, a boat owner in the capital. “We offer a reasonable transportation means that helps the people.”