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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - ISTANBUL — Turkish authorities have ordered Istanbul-based TV channels affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood to soften their critical political coverage of Egypt's government, according to media reports.
The move comes as Ankara seeks to repair ties with Cairo that were frayed after Egypt’s army ousted in 2013 Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi, an ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Cairo has since designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, while Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK party supported Morsi’s short-lived Egyptian government. Many Brotherhood members and their supporters have fled to Turkey since their activities were banned in Egypt.
In recent days, officials from Egypt and Turkey have said there is an ongoing dialogue between the two, albeit limited.
Sources familiar with the matter told Al Sharg/Bloomberg TV channel that Turkey issued an order for three Muslim Brotherhood channels (El Sharq TV, Watan TV, Mekameleen) to immediately stop airing political shows critical of Egypt and to only air non-political shows and series.
Ayman Nour, an exiled Egyptian opposition figure and head of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked al-Sharq television station, confirmed in televised comments that Turkish officials demanded that the channels tone down their rhetoric. He said they were not ordered to shut down or to stop airing programs, the Associated Press (AP) reported on Friday.
"A dialogue has started between us and Turks in the framework of changing the rhetoric (of these channels)," Nour was quoted by AP as saying.
The TV channels immediately stopped broadcasting some political programs, the editor said. He asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.
A tweet from El Sharq TV’s official account read: “To our dear followers, we apologize (for not airing) tonight’s episode of ‘The Streets of Egypt.” No further clarification was given.
Meanwhile, Egypt's state minister for information, Ossama Heikal, welcomed the move, calling it in a statement a "good initiative from the Turkish side that establishes a favorable atmosphere to discuss issues of dispute between the two nations."
There was no immediate comment from the Muslim Brotherhood group. — Agencies
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