ANKARA — Dozens of ministers from Turkey and Egypt will gather in Cairo in November in a bid to boost their alliance, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, Agence France-Presse reported.
“Accompanied by 13 ministers, I will be in Cairo in early November,” for the meeting of a high-level strategic council established between the two countries to bolster ties, Erdogan told a news conference with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in Ankara.
“I am fully confident that the meeting ... will bring about very important results,” said Erdogan, according to AFP.
Morsi praised Turkey for standing by the Egyptian people during and after the revolution that toppled president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, and said Cairo would never hesitate to establish a partnership with Ankara.
The Egyptian president, who addressed the AKP congress early in the day, lauded Erdogan’s party as a “source of inspiration” for the region, AFP reported.
The Associated Press reported that Turkey and Egypt on Sunday unleashed harsh criticism of the Syrian regime and pledged joint support for the Palestinian cause.
“Our common goal is to support other people who are standing up against their administrations or regimes, to support Palestine and the Syrians in their efforts,” Morsi said at the Turkish ruling party’s congress.
“The events in Syria are the tragedy of the century,” he added. “We will be on the side of the Syrian people until the bloodshed ends, the cruel regime is gone and Syrian people reach their just rights.”
In his speech to the congress, which is marking the ruling Justice and Development Party’s decade in power, Erdogan promised that Turkey, which is host to some 88,000 Syrian refugees as well as Syrian opposition groups, would continue to support the Syrian people wanting to oust the regime of President Bashar Assad.
He appealed to Russia, China and Iran to stop backing the regime.
“We call on Russia, China as well as Iran: Please review your stance. History will not forgive those who stand together with cruel regimes,” he said, according to AP.
With Khaled Mishaal, the leader of the Palestinian Islamist Hamas group also present, Erdogan said Turkey is determined to speak out against what he called Israel’s “state terrorism” in the region and praised Morsi for his support to Palestinians. “Through Morsi’s leadership, our Palestinian brothers in Gaza and in all other Palestinian cities are able to breathe easily,” he said.
Erdogan said Turkey would not reconcile with former ally Israel until it lifts its blockade of Gaza and apologises for an attack in 2010 that killed nine mostly Turkish pro-Palestinian activists in a raid on a flotilla that tried to breach the blockade.
Earlier, Erdogan told delegates at the congress that the era of military coups in the country is over and that Turkey is a model for other Muslim countries to emulate, AP reported.
The Justice and Development Party, which came to power in 2002, has maintained Turkey’s decades-old secular system, but at the same time has curtailed the power of the military, which have staged three coups since the 1960s and forced an Islamic government out of office in 1997.
“The era of coups in this country will never return again,” Erdogan said. “Anyone who intervenes or tries to intervene in democracy will sooner or later go in front of the people’s courts and be made to account.”