US condemns Erdogan's comments on Israel, Egypt

White House spokesman says Turkish leader's comments suggesting Israel is responsible for Egypt unrest are 'offensive and wrong'; says reports that US is cutting military aid to Egypt 'inaccurate'

The United States condemned comments by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accusing Israel of having a hand in the Egyptian military's overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi, a White House spokesman said on Tuesday.


"We strongly condemn the statements that were made by Prime Minister Erdogan today. Suggesting that Israel is somehow responsible for recent events in Egypt is offensive, unsubstantiated, and wrong," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in a briefing.


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In Israel, an official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office told AFP: "These comments by the Turkish prime minister are nonsense."


Earlier on Tuesday, Erdogan told provincial leaders of his AK Party: "What do they say in Egypt? Democracy is not the ballot box. What is behind it? Israel. We have in our hands documentation."


Also Tuesday, the White House said media reports that suggest the US cut off aid to Egypt are not accurate, adding that the Obama administration is still reviewing its options.


"That review has not concluded and ... published reports to the contrary that assistance to Egypt has been cut off are not accurate," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in a briefing.


Earnest also said that Egypt's detention of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie was not in line with the standard that the United States would hope to uphold in protecting basic human rights.


The White House will hold a Cabinet-level meeting to discuss cutting some of $1.5 billion in US aid to Egypt.


Earnest confirmed that a National Security Council meeting of top officials will take place Tuesday. Cabinet members such as Secretary of State John Kerry will participate.


Up to now, the administration has insisted that it has taken no final decision on halting aid to Egypt since the military's July overthrow of Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood-led government and an intensifying crackdown on Islamist opponents.


Both officials said Egypt aid would be the focus of the meeting. One official said a decision was likely on cutting some elements of US economic and military support.


Reuters, AFP and AP contributed to this report



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פרסום ראשון: 08.20.13, 22:00
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