Egypt concerned over Ethiopian unresponsiveness
Foreign ministry says Ethiopia has not responded to an invite for talks
Egypt is deeply concerned with Ethiopia’s unresponsiveness to calls by the Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation to hold talks, foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdel Atty said on Saturday.
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan’s ministers of water planned to hold technical talks on the implementation of the international panel of experts’ (IPoE) report on the effects of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on downstream countries like Egypt and Sudan.
An Egyptian diplomatic source said Egypt will absolutely renew the call for talks.
“We have to move forward; we cannot waste time,” the source said, while adding that Ethiopia said the time is “inconvenient” and that a date has to be set.
Abdel Atty said he regrets that an entire month has passed since former foreign minister Mohamed Kamel Amr’s visit to Addis Ababa and Khartoum in which he agreed to immediately start holding the technical talks.
The IPoE report recommended conducting more in-depth studies on the effects of the dam. Abdel Atty said “no more time should be wasted” without conducting these studies, as the possible effects of the dam on Egypt’s water resources cannot be determined without them.
“The Ethiopian side continues to carry out construction at the dam’s site, ignoring the recommendations of the IPoE which it [Ethiopia] officially announced that it will commit to,” Abdel Atty said.
Last week, the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation said that approximately 24% of the construction of the dam had been completed.
Ethiopia began diverting the Blue Nile on 28 May in its construction of the Renaissance Dam, a $4.2bn hydro-electric dam that has sparked fears that Egypt’s share of Nile water will be affected.
Abdel Atty said he hopes that the opportunity to reach a compromise that meets everyone’s interests is not lost. He added that at the forefront of these interests are Ethiopia’s right to development and Egypt’s right to preserve its only source of water.
Abdel Atty added that Egypt’s water security is “non-negotiable”.
Tensions ran high between Egypt and Ethiopia during the last month of former president Mohamed Morsi’s rule, with Morsi warning that if Egypt’s share of the water decreases, “our blood will be the alternative.”
Egypt has long received the largest share of the water from the Nile, as per agreements signed in 1929 and 1959, which guaranteed Egypt 55.5bn cubic metres of the estimated total of 84bn cubic metres of Nile water produced each year.
Crowds protest in Turkish cities at Morsi’s removal from power by Egyptian military
Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan: “We have suffered greatly from military coups . . . We don’t want our Egyptian brothers to suffer as well.” Photograph: Reuters/Osman Orsal
First published:Mon, Jul 22, 2013, 01:00
Protests calling for the reinstatement of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsicontinue across Egypt. But Egypt is not the only country with visible support for its first democratically elected leader.
In Turkey, tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest against Morsi’s removal last Sunday with a promise of more rallies to come. Leaders of Turkey’s ruling party, the Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP), have expressed their outrage at events in Egypt.
“We have suffered greatly from military coups . . . We don’t want our Egyptian brothers to suffer as well,” prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week.
During the 12 months of Morsi’s rule, Ankara invested $2 billion in the Egyptian government. The Muslim Brotherhood and the AKP share similar perspectives on Islam’s compatibility with democracy. To see the Egyptian military end the country’s nascent democratic experiment was difficult to stomach for Erdogan.
Furthermore, a recent history of military coups still haunts the AKP. Turkey’s military last ousted an elected Islamist government in 1997 and, though the AKP has imprisoned many military leaders, the scenes from Cairo have shaken it.
For 10 years, Turkey has attempted to cultivate ties with its Middle Eastern neighbours, but the conflict in Syria, a three-year dispute with Israel and now the ousting of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, have seen Turkey’s allies fall.
Abdullah Ayasun, a columnist with the Turkish newspaper, Today’s Zaman, said Turkey and Morsi saw eye to eye on Syria, the Palestinian issue and Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but now that has all been lost.
“Turkey’s entire southern flank is now surrounded by hostile political regimes,” he said.
At a pro-Morsi rally in Istanbul yesterday, secretary-general of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Ibrahim Munir told a 10,000-strong crowd: “The people of Egypt will continue to stage their resistance without fear and yielding through peaceful demonstrations,” adding that the Brotherhood may boycott future elections in Egypt.
The rally was organised by the Saadet Party – a far-right group with scant political leverage in Turkey though it claims a broad network of grassroots activists and shares a political ideology with the ruling AKP.
Protests were also held in regional cities while crowds gathered outside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul.
Fearing the Muslim Brotherhood’s growing regional popularity, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates essentially endorsed the Egyptian military’s recent actions by announcing $12 billion in aid for Egypt.
Turkish media have focused on the killing of 51 Morsi supporters on July 8th in Cairo. A Turkish NGO has taken legal steps to investigate Egypt’s military leaders for crimes against humanity.
Analysts say the Saadet Party’s involvement in pro-Morsi rallies reflects a shared experience of the military.
The most recent military coup against an elected government in Turkey took place in 1997 when the Islamic-leaning Welfare Party – co-founded by Erdogan – was ousted and later banned. The prime minister at that time, Necmettin Erbakan, was twice leader of the Saadet Party during the 2000s.
During its 10 years in power, the AKP has largely eliminated the threat from the military by imprisoning hundreds of Turkish army officers.
Like Egypt, Turkish society is divided into those that favour the Islamist and secular ways.
“But many of Turkey’s liberals and democrats put most of the blame on the Muslim Brotherhood for its fatal mistakes during its one-year governing experience,” says Ayasun.
Egypt Faces Diplomatic Crisis with Turkey Over ‘Unacceptable Coup’
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday through his Twitter account that Turkey is not intervening in the internal affairs of other countries (referring to Egypt), but only supports justice.
“Turkey is not intervening in the domestic politics of any country, but it considers itself a voice for its friends and the oppressed and aims at having their voices heard,” said Erdogan’s post in Arabic.
Turkey has described the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi by the military earlier this month as an “unacceptable coup”, which was denounced by Egypt who in response summoned Turkey’s ambassador to Cairo, warning Ankara not to meddle in its internal affairs.
Foreign Minister: Egypt committed to establishing real democracy
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi received a telephone call from the United States’ Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss a number of regional issues and follow up with the developments in Egypt, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Fahmi affirmed the Egyptian government’s commitment to establish a true democracy, adding that this is a major demand for the people.
On his part, Kerry expressed his keenness to have the current transitional phase succeed, the spokesman said on the ministry’s Facebook page.
Fahmi and his American counterpart talked over the development of Egypt’s domestic affairs. The Egyptian minister explained in detail the events the country has been going through since June 30.
They also discussed the efforts exerted to resume peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis after Kerry’s latest tour in the region.
Egypt Brotherhood figures transferred to high-security prison as precaution – source
The Prison Authority in Egypt transferred several Muslim Brotherhood members who were detained at Tora Prison pending investigation to the high-security Aqrab Prison, a senior security source at the Interior Ministry said.
The Brotherhood figures were taken to the Aqrab Prison as a precautionary measure due to maintenance work at Tora, the source told the Middle East News Agency on Friday.
Among the Egypt Muslim Brotherhood members that were in Tora are Khairat al-Shater, deputy head of the Brotherhood Rashad Bayoumi, Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) head Saad al-Katatni, former Brotherhood Guide Mahdi Akef, former MP Mohamed al-Omda, secretary-general of the FJP in Giza Helmi al-Gazzar and Hazem Salah Abu Ismail.
Egypt Conscript injured in attack on Arish checkpoint
Unknown gunmen shot a conscript on Friday evening at a security checkpoint south of Arish city in North Sinai.
Armed men driving a four wheeler shot at security personnel at a checkpoint in Safa area, eyewitnesses in Egypt reported.
Conscript Mohamed al-Sayed Zaki, 22, was shot in his foot and was taken to Arish Hospital for treatment, security sources at the Egypt army said.
Egypt Armed forces seal off street leading to Defence Ministry
The armed forces of Egypt closed off Khalifa Ma’moun Street to traffic both ways after reports that supporters of former president Mohamed Mursi intend to march to the Defence Ministry headquarters.
Army forces of Egypt placed metal barriers with barbed wire on both sides of the street to prevent the marching demonstrators from reaching the ministry’s headquarters, the Middle East News Agency said on Friday.
Islamist groups had called on demonstrators participating in today’s protests to head to the ministry and stage a sit-in to demand Mursi’s return to power as President of Egypt.
Mursi supporters march to Defence Ministry, Republican Guard HQ in Egypt
Islamist demonstrators supporting ousted president Mohamed Mursi organised a march from Rabaa al-Adaweya Mosque in Cairo, Egypt to the Defence Ministry headquarters on Friday.
Another march headed from Rabaa mosque to the Republican Guard headquarters on Salah Salem Street. The march is led by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Gamal Abdel Sattar.
The army of Egypt intensified its presence around the Republican Guard headquarters in case of any attempt to break into it, the state news agency reported.
Dismayed Egyptian envoy still hopeful of Turkish ties
Cansu Çamlıbel – Hürriyet
Cairo’s ambassador to Ankara, Abderahman Salaheldin, is still hopeful of cementing ties between the two countries. He interpretes the recent crisis as a temporary ‘summer cloud that will go away’
Cairo’s ambassador to Ankara, Salaheldin (R) talks with Turkish FM Davutoğlu. Salaheldin is hopeful of cementing ties between the two ‘brother’ countries. AA photo
Dismayed by the Turkish government’s approach to the latest stage of crisis in Egypt, Cairo’s ambassador to Ankara, Abderahman Salaheldin, has still appeared hopeful of cementing ties between the two “brother” countries. The ambassador did not attend the fast-breaking meal hosted by the Turkish prime minister, but he said he had been in a busy consultation with other senior Turkish officials, including the president and the foreign minister. Calling the tension between the two capitals temporary, Salaheldin also said that the Egyptians who took the streets against the now ousted president were surprised by Ankara’s latest stance. Following is the abridged version of the interview with the ambassador:
Why didn’t you attend the iftar dinner hosted by PM Erdoğan?
I received an invitation and I regret not attending.
The Turkish side probably took it as a negative message.
All of the Turkish officials and politicians […] know how faithful I am to this relationship. I met President [Abdullah] Gül last week. I fully briefed him on the developments in Egypt.
What was the response of President Gül when you briefed him?
He expressed his deepest wishes for Egypt … a safe, peaceful and expedited transition to an elected government. Of course President Gül has a strategic vision of the importance of the relations between Turkey and Egypt. He has always been the champion of this relationship. And you know he was the first head of state to visit Egypt after the revolution.
Did you find President Gül’s approach as rigid as that of the government?
The response was heartfelt wishes for Egypt; a keen interest on the relationship between the two countries [and] a forceful denial that Turkey would even think of interfering with Egyptian domestic affairs. Ironically, it was not the first time I turned to the president… Two and a half years ago in February 2011, I gave him a full briefing and I can say that it worked perfectly. It is not only the president, I have to tell, also other senior government executives and ruling and opposition [parties].
Do you consider what happened in Egypt as a coup?
Let me remind you of what happened in January 2011. The military forced President [Hosni] Mubarak to step down and took over. The whole world, including Turkey, congratulated Egypt for its great revolution. In 2013, almost heartbeat to heartbeat… Yes, President Morsi was elected by the majority of 51 percent, no one denies that. In one year’s time, President Morsi lost the support of those who voted for him.
How do you consider the rise of Salafis in Egyptian politics?
The political dispute between the majority that called for the change and the minority of Muslim Brotherhood followers is not about religion. The majority was asking for jobs, better education and health services for their children. Most Egyptians are not going to be fooled again in the name of religion.
Will you able to be convince the Turkish side?
I think it is very useful to remind Turks of these two incidents – January of 2011 and July of 2013. Turkey must not be shown as siding with the minority that happens to be the Brotherhood.
Is the inspirational image of Turkey deteriorating in Egypt?
Yes. We are hearing calls by some writers and intellectuals and even from businessmen for the first time in the history of relations: “We need to have a pause here.” What is Turkey doing, what are these statements? This is the image that I am worried about. The Turkish government had a very positive image that has many admirers across Egypt. I am very worried that this majority of Egyptians who took the streets to ask for a change are surprised to see the Turkish government as standing against it. We are trying to send a message to the investors from both sides: “Don’t worry this is temporary. We call it a summer cloud that will go away.”
How can Ankara and Cairo cement ties while the former says that it only recognizes Morsi as president?
When the Egyptian statement came out few days ago, it was a statement to brothers telling them: “We don’t interfere in your domestic affairs, please don’t interfere in ours.” Of course, every sovereign nation makes its own decisions and there are the consequences of these decisions. The Egyptian people are disappointed because they had very high expectations from Turkey. They thought that Turkey would be the first to welcome the change. This disappointment was reflected by the new Egyptian government in a very brotherly drafted complaint.
Will the Turkish position not change up until Morsi is released?
I hope it will develop in the right direction.
Is it not almost a condition by Turkey?
No one can put conditions on Egyptians on how to deal with their affairs. No Egyptian would accept that, even from brothers. But […] the strategic relationship is very important.
So nobody is planning to summon you back to Cairo?
It is not only me. Believe me there are sensible people in both governments that are helping me to do this. I think they are the majority.
No need for tension with Turkey
CAIRO – Anadolu Agency
There is no need for unnecessary tension with Turkey, Egypt’s interim Prime Minister, Hazem el-Beblawi said yesterday. “Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğandoesn’t have enough information about developments related to Egypt. He doesn’t think in the same way as we do on some issues,” he said. “For this reason, we need to give an explanation to him [Erdoğan] about developments in Egypt in order to not allow unnecessary tensions,” he added. “We attach importance to Turkey.”
PM’s Gaza trip not entirely off agenda
Under these circumstances, would there be an exception for the Turkish prime minister to visit Gaza?
As you know, [Foreign Minister Ahmet] Davutoğlu did not go to Gaza alone, but with a group of Arab ministers. Actually, Prime Minister Erdoğan visited Egypt twice while there was a crisis in Gaza. I cannot rule out that it may happen again.
Was it you requesting the meeting from Davutoğlu?
I asked earlier for the meeting with Davutoğlu but he was away from Ankara at the time. The meeting lasted for over an hour. I presented a full briefing about what was going on in Egypt. The discussion was frank [and] comprehensive.