Egypt scraps navy drill with Turkey to protest 'interference'

CAIRO (AFP) - Cairo has cancelled naval exercises with Turkey scheduled to take place in October to protest Ankara's "clear interference" in Egypt's domestic affairs, the foreign ministry said on Friday.

The measures were 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," the minstry said in a statement.

Turkey had earlier denied that it was meddling in Egypt's internal affairs after the two countries pulled out their respective ambassadors in a further deterioration of ties following the bloodbath in Cairo.

In tit-for-tat moves on Thursday, Ankara and Cairo said they were recalling their envoys after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned what he called the "massacre" of peaceful protesters.

Mr Erdogan, a supporter of former president Mohamed Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement, had also infuriated the interim government in Cairo by terming his July ouster a military coup.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul rejected criticism that his country was interfering in the affairs of the Arab world's most populous nation, saying Ankara's messages should be seen as "friendly warning."

"All that happened is a shame for the Islamic and Arab world," he was quoted as saying by the private Dogan News Agency during a visit to Azerbaijan.

"(Egypt's) friends feel the pain. I feel the pain for each and every Egyptian who was killed," he added.

About 600 people were killed in the violence that erupted on Wednesday when security forces moved in to break up pro-Mursi protest camps in Egypt, the worst unrest inthe country since the 2011 uprising that unseated Mr Hosni Mubarak.