Egypt's interim government has sent a circular to its ministries and other government agencies instructing them to break off all economic, cultural and trade relations with the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA) after a diplomatic crisis that broke out between Egypt and Turkey two weeks ago Today`s Zaman reported.
According to reports circulating in the Turkish media, the circular instructs all Egyptian government institutions to terminate joint activities with TİKA and to refuse any and all technical and financial aid that comes from the Turkish agency.
Serdar Cam, head of TİKA, told Today's Zaman that the Egyptian government has not yet made any formal statements to TİKA on the issue and that the agency has been following the reports. "Our work in Egypt still continues," he said.
The move comes as the latest development in the diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Cairo. After Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated at a rally that he has no respect for those who put ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on trial, referring to Egypt's interim government, Egypt expelled the Turkish ambassador and scaled back its diplomatic relations with Turkey to the level of chargé d'affaires in what came as a sharp escalation of tension that has been simmering between the two countries since the July 3 Egyptian military coup. Ankara responded in kind, declaring Egypt's ambassador to Turkey, who had already left Turkey months ago amid the tension, persona non grata.
Within the scope of the High Level Strategic Cooperation Council Agreement that was signed between Turkey and Egypt in Cairo last year during Morsi's presidency, the two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding for TİKA to conduct activities in Egypt related to vocational training and the provision of financial aid. TİKA has been helping to restore historic buildings such as mosques and schools in Egypt. The agency recently announced its completion of the restoration of the Al-Hussein Mosque in Cairo. TİKA also provides financial support to Egypt's Al-Azhar University.