Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has suggested that Israel was behind the military coup that ousted Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, in early July, adding that the Turkish government has evidence to prove the Israeli hand in it.
The evidence Erdoğan gave for the alleged Israeli involvement was a meeting in France before elections in Egypt in 2011 between an Israeli justice minister and an unnamed intellectual whom he quoted as saying the Muslim Brotherhood would not be in power even if it wins elections. He was speaking to members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in Ankara on Tuesday.
"What is said about Egypt? That democracy is not the ballot box. Who is behind this? Israel is. We have the evidence in our hands," Erdoğan said. "That's exactly what happened."
The evidence Erdoğan was referring to was a video of a press conference by Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and French philosopher and author Bernard-Henri Levy.
A video of the two, dating back to 2011, shows Levy saying: "If the Muslim Brotherhood arrives in Egypt, I will not say democracy wants it, so let democracy progress. Democracy is not only elections, it is also values."
Pressed further as to whether he would urge Egypt's military to intervene against the Muslim Brotherhood, Levy says: "I will urge the prevention of them coming to power, but by all sorts of means."
“If we stay silent in the face of the coup in Egypt, we will not have the right to say something if they set the same trap for us in the future,” said Erdoğan.
The Israeli Consulate in İstanbul released a statement on Tuesday, quoting Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor's comments on Erdoğan's remarks regarding Israel. Palmor reportedly said, “This is one of those statements that is well worth not commenting on.”
The Turkish prime minister also stepped up his criticisms of Muslim countries, saying: “The Islamic world is like the brothers of the Prophet Yusuf, who threw him down the well. As in the case of the brothers of the Prophet Yusuf, Allah will shame those in the Islamic world betraying their brothers and sisters in Egypt.”
Although Erdoğan did not name specific states that supported the coup in Egypt, he noted that there are rich people in the Islamic world as well as poor, and it is those rich people of the Islamic world who support the dictators.
“The situation of the African Muslim countries is obvious. Which of them did you help or support?” asked Erdoğan, who had previously underlined that some foreign countries that did not financially support the Morsi government during his one-year presidency have now pledged to provide $16 billion to the coup regime in Egypt.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait gave a total of $12 billion to Egypt following the recent struggles in the country.
On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ criticized the Gulf countries, saying that they are supporting the coup to better control Egypt as “puppet administrations” are easier to control than democratic ones.
Bozdağ stated that Egypt is surrounded by a lot of monarchic administrations, adding that “those people [living under those administrations] might say: ‘Look how it went in Egypt; a great success was achieved. Why shouldn't this happen here to us?'” Bozdağ added that it is clear the monarchies in Gulf are disturbed by the changes in Egypt.
Meanwhile, President Abdullah Gül said on Tuesday in a joint press conference with his Slovakian counterpart, Ivan Gasparovic, that what is happening in Egypt is unacceptable, adding that the ongoing events are deeply saddening.
“There is an untenable pain in Egypt. We are sharing these pains,” said Gül.
Gül underlined that it will not be possible to keep democracy away from Egypt for a long time.
Turkey has emerged as one of the strongest international critics of the Egyptian coup that toppled Morsi, and Turkish leaders lashed out at both the new Egyptian administration and its perceived supporters in the West following a brutal crackdown on pro-Morsi demonstrators on Wednesday that left hundreds dead.
Gül, Erdoğan meet to discuss Egypt
Meanwhile, Gül and Erdoğan met on Tuesday to discuss the latest developments in Egypt after their meeting had been postponed previously.
The meeting, which had been scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. at the Tarabya presidential palace in İstanbul on Monday, was postponed due to the busy schedules of the two leaders to first Thursday and then Tuesday.
In the meantime, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç stated that at the moment it is out of question for Turkish Ambassador to Cairo Hüseyin Avni Botsalı to return to Egypt, adding that Turkey will decide whether to send Botsalı back or not depending on the developments in Egypt.
Botsalı, who arrived in Turkey on Friday, briefed the Cabinet on developments in the world's largest Arab nation after a military crackdown in the country.
Before Erdoğan convened Monday's Cabinet meeting, Botsalı met with Gül at the Çankaya presidential palace in the morning to discuss the situation in Egypt. After his meeting with Gül, which was closed to the press, the Turkish ambassador met with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu at the Foreign Ministry.
Botsalı is expected to attend a meeting of the National Security Council (MGK) on Wednesday.
Turkey and Egypt recalled their ambassadors for consultation following Ankara's condemnation of the Egyptian security forces' bloody crackdown on supporters of ousted President Morsi.
As Turkish leaders maintain pressure on Egypt's interim government, calling the violence a “shame for Islam and the Arab world,” Botsalı, who had been summoned to Egypt's Foreign Ministry over Turkey's criticism, was recalled to Turkey for consultation.
On Saturday, Erdoğan accused Egyptian authorities of committing “state terrorism,” and a day later Egypt's foreign minister called Turkey's fierce criticism of the Egyptian military's crackdown “hostile.”
“Turkey demonstrated a hostile attitude, not only by its statements but also by the actions it took at the international level,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said.
“Turkey's stance on Egypt is related to the AK Party's ideology and its miscalculations about the Arab revolution. I can understand that the situation in Egypt is different, but double standards and an external intervention cannot be accepted,” Fahmy said, underlining that Egypt will not tolerate Turkish interference in its affairs.
Known for its close relationship with Morsi, Erdoğan's AK Party described the Egyptian military intervention that toppled him as an unacceptable coup and tried to convince other countries to step up pressure on Egypt.
In late September 2012, Morsi attended an AK Party congress in Ankara in what was considered a sign of flourishing relations between Turkey and Egypt.