Egyptian business leader criticises Erdoğan for making ‘big mess’ in the region

An Egyptian billionaire has accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of causing a “big mess” in the region with recent foreign policy moves.

Speaking to U.S. news channel CNBC on Tuesday, Naguib Sawiris, chairman of one of the world’s largest telecoms companies, said Erdoğan was driven by an ambition “to become the new Ottoman emperor of the region”.

Turkish armed forces have launched major offensives against Kurdish armed groups in Syria and Iraq, intervened against the Egypt-backed strongman Khalifa Haftar in Libya and has confronted Greece over disputed territories in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was also a key supporter of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government, before President Mohamed Morsi’s administration was removed by the military in 2013. The Brotherhood is a pan-Islamist political movement that operates networks of groups across the Middle East.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has since accused Turkey of promoting the Brotherhood throughout the region, including in Libya, where Egypt has provided support for Haftar against the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord based in Tripoli.

Sawiris said the Brotherhood had “left Egypt in a shambles”, and that he hoped that the new U.S. administration under Joe Biden would help “bring democratic values” back to the region.