Egypt restricts women traveling to Turkey

Egypt restricts women traveling to Turkey

Egypt has imposed restrictions on female citizens traveling to Turkey, police said on May 17, months after introducing similar measures for men to stop them joining the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Women aged 18 to 40 are now required to obtain security clearance before going to Turkey, a senior police officer told AFP, without specifying why.

"A security clearance can be acquired within 72 hours, and it is now mandatory for women travelling to this country [Turkey]," the officer said.

The restriction took effect on May 14, a Cairo airport official said.

In March Egypt's state-sponsored Islamic authority, Dar al-Ifta, warned women against marrying ISIL fighters over the Internet who woo them to travel to jihadist-controlled territory.

The compulsory security clearance for men, introduced in December, applies to war-torn Libya as well as Turkey.

Jihadists have regularly launched attacks in Egypt, mostly in the Sinai Peninsula, since President Mohamed Morsi was ousted in 2013, and officials say that many of them have fought in Syria, which borders Turkey.

In November Egypt's deadliest militant group, the Sinai Province, formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, pledged allegiance to ISIL, heightening security concerns.

Jihadists say their attacks are in retaliation for a bloody government crackdown on Morsi supporters that has left hundreds dead and thousands jailed.

Morsi himself was sentenced to death on May 16 along with more than 100 defendants for their role in a mass jailbreak during the 2011 uprising against former strongman Hosni Mubarak.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the verdict against Morsi, saying Egypt was "turning back into ancient Egypt," referring to the old Pharaonic rule of the land that ended more than two millennia ago.

Ties between Cairo and Ankara have deteriorated since the army toppled Morsi, a key ally of Turkey.

Egypt has accused Ankara of "backing terrorism," while Turkey has repeatedly branded Morsi's overthrow a "coup."

Turkey, a vocal critic of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has denied accusations that it tolerates the flow of foreign fighters into Syria.

Cairo has also regularly raised concerns over the war in Libya, which has plunged into chaos since the ouster and killing of long-time leader Moamer Gadhafi in 2011.

In February, Cairo carried out air strikes inside Libya targeting ISIL fighters, after jihadists posted a video showing the beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians, all but one of the Egyptians, on a beach in Libya.

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