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Turkey criticizes US move to designate Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group

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The spokesman for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said on Tuesday that if the United States designates the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization, it will hamper democratization efforts in the Middle East and serve militant groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Reuters reported.

The White House said on Tuesday President Donald Trump was working to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization, a step that would bring sanctions against Egypt’s oldest Islamist movement.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi asked Trump to make the designation, which Egypt has already done, in a private meeting during an April 9 visit to Washington, a senior US official said, confirming a report in The New York Times.

Ömer Çelik, spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Islamist-rooted AKP, said such a decision by the United States would “undoubtedly yield extremely wrong results regarding stability, human rights, basic rights and freedoms in countries of the Islamic world,” he said.

“At the same time, [Trump’s move] is the biggest support that can be given to the propaganda of Daesh,” he said, referring to ISIL.

Despite being NATO allies, Turkey and the United States are currently at loggerheads, mainly over their opposing interests in Syria and Ankara’s plans to buy a Russian missile defense system.

Relations between Ankara and Cairo have been strained since the Egyptian military, then led by Sisi, ousted President Mohamed Mursi, a senior figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.

The Muslim Brotherhood has close ties with Turkey’s AKP, and many of its members have fled there since its activities were banned in Egypt. It says it is an entirely peaceful organization.

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