Egypt’s political digest Nov. 11: Egypt foreign ministry slams Turkish President’s anti-Sisi remarks
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned the "coup" against Egypt's Mohamed Morsi -- and in a show of solidarity he often uses a four-finger hand gesture known as "Rabia" -- seen as a symbol of the Muslim Brotherhood (AFP Photo/Ozan Kose)

CAIRO: No more browsing from site to site, view the top politics news stories on Nov. 11 here:

Egypt foreign ministry slams Turkish President’s anti-Sisi remarks

Egypt foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid condemned the “irresponsible” statements by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during an interview with the Qatari news channel Aljazeera where he accused Egypt of “providing support to the Gulen movement.”

In statements on Friday, Abu Zeid said that Erdogan’s remarks are “continuation of confused and double standard policy, which characterize the Turkish government strategy in recent years.”

Erdogan accused the Gulen movement, which is led by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, of masterminding the failed coup attempt in Turkey last July.

Abu Zeid added he was “shocked by Erdogan’s claims he was the guardian of democracy and freedom,” while the Turkish government had arrested hundreds of university professors, journalists, and dozens of MPs, and closed dozens of newspapers and laying off tens of thousands of public servicemen and military officers over their involvement in what Erdogan claimed a plotted coup against his regime.

Relations between Turkey and Egypt have been strained since the 2013 ouster of Egypt’s Islamist president Mohamed Morsi following a mass protest against his rule.


Police seize stash of weapons in 2 Muslim Brotherhood hideouts in Fayoum

Security forces in Upper Egypt’s governorate of Fayoum seized a stash of weapons that supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood were plotting to use ahead of planned anti-government protests, the interior ministry announced in a statement Thursday.

One of the hideouts were in a graveyard south of Fayoum and contained an RPG, 16 automatic and sniper rifles and over 4,000 bullets, while the other was in a house of a member of the outlawed group, according to the statement.

The ministry said it raided five bomb factories around the country on Wednesday, accusing a militant group of coordinating with the Brotherhood to attack police checkpoints on the eve of planned protests.

“The armed wing of the Muslim Brotherhood intended to use the weapons in terrorist attacks as they take advantage of economic conditions to incite protests,” according to the statement.

Egyptian policemen are on high alert around the clock to “foil plots sown against the state,” Assistant Interior Minister for Media and Public Tarek Attia was quoted by Youm7 Saturday.

Speaking at a cultural forum organized by the prison authority, Attia asserted that the interior ministry in collaboration with the Egyptian armed forces “stepped up security measures across the country and at key sites to face terror incitement called upon by evil forces to promote extremism and chaos and hinder Egypt’s development path.”

The remarks come ahead of online calls for protests on 11 November to spark a popular uprising over the country’s economic situation. However, no specific group has officially called for such protests.


Egypt blocks bank account of torture victims’ center – lawyer

An Egyptian rights group that treats torture victims was prevented on Thursday from accessing its funds and told that its account had been blocked, its lawyer told Reuters.

Taher Abu al-Nasr, who represents the Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture, said an employee was not allowed to cash a cheque for the center and was told by a bank manager that the central bank had ordered its account suspended until it registers as a non-governmental organisation with the social solidarity ministry.

Nadeem says it is registered as a clinic with the health ministry and does not need to register as an NGO.

“We couldn’t cash a cheque today. We don’t know exactly what happened; whether our assets are frozen or our account is shut down or what. We will try to obtain the written order on Sunday when banks reopen,” Abu al-Nasr said.

Egyptian authorities deny allegations by human rights groups and activists that security forces round up people and torture them in secret detention centres.

Amnesty International condemned the move against Nadeem, saying the NGO provides hundreds of torture victims with vital services including counselling and legal assistance.

“This is yet more evidence of the Egyptian authorities’ chilling contempt of perceived critics. By freezing Nadeem’s financial assets the authorities are preventing the Center from carrying out their crucial work to provide care to survivors of horrific violence,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director at Amnesty for the Middle East and North Africa.

The government had already ordered the closure of the center in February without providing an official reason. Health ministry sources at the time said it committed unspecified violations.

The center challenged the order in court and still operates.

Egyptian rights activists say they are facing the worst assault in their history amid a wider campaign to erase freedoms won in a 2011 uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule as president.

In October, an Egyptian court approved a freeze on the assets of five prominent human rights activists and three NGOs accused of receiving foreign funds to sow chaos.

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