CAIRO: Al-Wafd Party, one of Egypt’s oldest popular liberal parties, plans to organize a protest Oct.12 in front of the Turkish embassy in Cairo to demand an economic boycott of the country following the Turkish president’s recent remarks on Egypt, the party stated in a press release Tuesday.
“The protest will demand the annulment of the RORO services agreement between Egypt and Turkey, and halt economic and touristic exchange,” the statement read. However, the party said their stance is only against Tayyip Erdogan and holds no hostilities against the Turkish people.
RORO, or roll-on/roll-off services, were established in an agreement in April 2012 between the Mediterranean Turkish port of İskenderun and a number of Egyptian ports – mainly Alexandria and Port Said through the Suez Canal.
A lawsuit was filed by lawyer Samir Sabry to oblige the government to stop the deal, Al-Dostour news reported Oct. 1, in which Sabry argued that Turkey is the main beneficiary of the agreement as it obtains subsidized fuel from Egypt for its ships.
Al-Dostour also reported that experts listed a series of negative outcomes for Egypt, which included security risks; according to the signed agreement containers cannot be searched. Egypt may also suffer financial losses, as the money it obtains on a ship’s crossing is spent on measures to secure it, in addition to tax payments.
The agreement was signed during former president Mohamed Morsi’s rule in 2012, whose administration had warm relations with Turkey, and it was originally drafted to help Turkey pass through the Gulf after problems emerged with Syrian routes, due to regional political tensions. After Morsi’s ouster July 3, 2013, Erdogan has launched a severe campaign against the current regime and offered wide support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Relations quickly chilled between the two nations; Erdogan recently criticized Egyptian policies and referred to the regime as an “illegitimate coup d’état” in the recent United Nations General Assembly summit, which resulted in an exchange of verbal jabs between the two nations.