Cairo, Ankara Cancel Navy Drills

navvvvvvvvvEgypt and Turkey Friday canceled planned naval exercises, the latest escalation in a diplomatic row over the bloody crackdown on ousted president Mohamed Morsi’s supporters.

Both countries claimed to have made the decision the scrap the joint drills scheduled for October, with Cairo saying it had pulled out to protest Turkey’s “clear interference” in Egypt’s domestic affairs — an accusation Ankara denied.

The move came after both countries announced Thursday they were recalling their respective ambassadors, following Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s condemnation of what he called the “massacre” of peaceful protesters in Egypt.

Erdogan, a supporter of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement, had also infuriated the interim government in Cairo by calling Morsi’s July ouster a “coup”.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said it had canceled the planned naval exercises in “protest at the unacceptable Turkish statements and actions which represent a clear interference in Egypt’s domestic affairs and stand against the will of the Egyptian people.”

But Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Gumrukcu said that NATO member Turkey had in fact been the one to scrap the drills.

“We have made the decision on the cancellation of the naval exercise planned to be conducted with Egypt,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Today the decision on the cancellation of an invitation for both the exercise within NATO and the bilateral exercise has been conveyed to the Egyptian side, the spokesman wrote.

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