, ANKARA September 4- Turkey’s ambassador to Egypt will return to Cairo on Wednesday after he was recalled last month over the bloody crackdown on supporters of the country’s ousted Islamist president, a foreign ministry diplomat said.
“The ambassador is due to return to Cairo later today,” the diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.
However, the Turkish official stressed that the move should not be interpreted as a restoration of diplomatic ties which he said “have never been cut off.”
“We recalled the ambassador for consultations and he will be sent back as the consultations are over,” he told AFP.
The police and military crackdown on August 14 on supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi sparked a storm of international condemnation and strained relations between Turkey and Egypt.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a supporter of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, condemned what he called the “massacre” of peaceful protesters in Egypt.
The two countries announced on August 15 they were recalling their ambassadors for consultations.
The tensions further escalated when both Ankara and Cairo cancelled planned joint naval exercises scheduled for October.
Turkey’s Islamic rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) government had forged a close alliance with Morsi since he was elected in Egypt’s first free election in June 2012.
The Islamist leader was invited to the AKP’s annual congress last September, where Erdogan sought to position Turkey as a regional standard bearer and a model for the successful marriage of Islam and democracy.
Erdogan had infuriated Cairo by calling Morsi’s July 3 ouster a “coup.”
Daily demonstrations in support of Morsi have since taken place in Turkey.
Ankara’s repeated calls for Morsi’s release and for free and fair elections irked Egypt’s new rulers who accused the government of “clear interference” in their country’s domestic affairs.
President Abdullah Gul had rejected the accusation and said Turkey’s messages should be seen as a “friendly warning.”
Meanwhile, a delegation from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) will visit Egypt between September 9-12, lawmaker Faruk Logoglu said.
“Both Turkey and Egypt are the strategic countries in the region and a rupture in their relationship would benefit neither of them,” Logoglu, a member of the CHP delegation, told AFP.
The CHP also condemned the “coup” in Egypt but the opposition delegation was to hold talks with the new rulers in a bid to repair bilateral relations between Ankara and Cairo, Logoglu said.