Turkey will not crack down on Egypt’s opposition

Prominent Egyptian opposition figure based in Istanbul Ayman Nour on 24 November 2020 [Esra Bilgin/Anadolu Agency]

Prominent Egyptian opposition figure based in Istanbul Ayman Nour has denied claims that Turkey had urged the closure of opposition media outlets or it would hand over opposition figures to Cairo, news agencies reported on Friday.

Nour, owner of liberal TV Channel El Sharq, said that he met with Turkish officials who expressed Ankara’s “desire to see these media outlets tone down their criticism of El-Sisi’s rule”, according to Al Jazeera. He also confirmed that the meeting held on Thursday: “Focused on the media’s conduct in the context of these latest exchanges between Turkey and Egypt.”

Turkey is home to three Egyptian TV channels: El Sharq, Watan, the mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Mekameleen, an independent channel close to the Islamists.

AFP reported that Nour expressed that the Turkish officials wanted to see the media: “Commit to respecting the charters of journalistic ethics.” Meanwhile, he denied reports that Turkey had threatened to shut down the TV channels or expel opponents of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s rule. The possibility of closing down channels or expelling journalists or political opponents was never raised,” Nour stated, according to AFP, describing the meeting as being “civilised in tone and involving no diktats.”

At the same time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s advisor Yassin Aktay indicated that Egypt had notified the Turkish authorities that these TV channels were broadcasting inappropriate political content contradicting journalistic ethics. He pointed out that Turkey was not aware of the content aired by the Egyptian TV channels broadcasting from his country, but that Turkey wanted them to respect the charter of journalistic ethics, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported.

According to the London-based newspaper, Aktay also denied that his country was planning to expel or hand over Egyptian journalists and political opponents to Cairo.

“Turkey will not arrest anyone or hand anyone over,” according to Aktay, stressing that: “It is impossible that Turkey will handover anyone to Egypt or any country which carries out death punishment.” He emphasised that this is based on Turkish respect for human rights.

Aktay completely denied that handing over opposition figures was discussed during the ongoing dialogue between Ankara and Cairo.

Source: Middle East Monitor