Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt has expressed its gratitude to Turkey for supporting Egyptians forced to flee the country following the crackdown on the movement, Anadolu Agency reported Sunday.
Ibrahim Mounir, the deputy general guide of the organization, thanked the Turkish authorities for giving refuge to the Egyptian refugees who found safety and peace in Turkey.
While the exact number of Egyptians in Turkey is not in official statistics, the report quoted an opposition leader in Istanbul as saying 20,000 Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members lived on Turkish soil.
Mounir's statement came amid signs of reconciliation between Ankara and Cairo to fix the strained bilateral ties.
The relations between Turkey and Egypt deteriorated after General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi toppled the country's first democratically elected president, Mohammad Morsi, in a coup after only a year in office.
Ankara has maintained its position that a democratically elected president cannot be deposed by a military coup and thus, has voiced its criticism of el-Sissi and his backers, including the West and some of Ankara's rivals in the Gulf region.
The Egyptian government, on the other hand, urged Turkey not to intervene in an issue that it considers as the country's internal affairs. The dispute led to a deadlock in bilateral relations for many years.
Recently, however, signs of a possible reconciliation have come from both countries, particularly due to the changing dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Turkey-Greece crisis over the region's energy resources, according to Anadolu Agency.
Repression in Egypt
Meanwhile repressive measures continue to eliminate any opposition to el-Sisi regime. The former acting leader of the Muslim Brotherhood was sentenced to life in prison last month by an Egyptian kangaroo court, as the crackdown on the organization's members continues years after a military junta ousted the country's first and only democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi.
Security forces arrested Mahmoud Ezzat last August in a raid in Cairo's Fifth Settlement district.
Ezzat was sentenced on charges of inciting violence and supplying firearms during clashes outside the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters between its supporters and opponents in 2013, a judicial source said. Other senior Muslim Brotherhood members have been sentenced to life in prison in the same case.
At the time of Ezzat's arrest, the Muslim Brotherhood said he had been pursued on "false political charges." He became acting leader after Badie's arrest in August 2013, as Reuters reported.
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