The second winner in Egypt's latest democratic and free elections, Salafi Islamist Al-Nour Party's leader Dr. Emad Eddin Abdul Gafur said Tuesday that they desired a stronger and more comprehensive cooperation with Turkey.
In an exclusive interview with the AA in Cairo, Dr. Abdul Gafur said that Turkey and Egypt had historic ties.
"The peoples of our two countries have love for each other and there is a friendship. We always wish to see strong cooperation between Turkey and Egypt," Dr. Abdul Gafur said.
We want to make use of Turkey's experiences. I hope that Turkey and Egypt strengthen their economic ties and establish a strong economic union in the region, Dr. Abdul Gafur noted.
Turkish Premier Erdogan's policies and his stance on the region have been received with appreciation in the Arab world, Dr. Abdul Gafur said.
We want to establish communication with Turkey. And, we are looking forward to speaking with Turkish officials. The contact with Turkey is crucial for us, Dr. Abdul Gafur said.
Touching on Egypt's ties with Israel, Dr. Abdul Gafur said that an Egypt strong economically, politically, socially and militarily will bring down Israel's role in the region.
A strong Egypt will force Israel to reevaluate its position. The Camp David Treaty signed by Egypt and Israel in 1979 gives the Palestinians the right to determine their own future and the right to return to their territories. If Egypt becomes strong, Israel would have to implement the articles of this Treaty, Dr. Abdul Gafur stated.
We expect to receive around 25 percent of the votes at the end of the three stages in the Egyptian elections. We plan to implement an "Islamic Economic Model" that respects private property and protects middle and lower income groups, Dr. Abdul Gafur said.
The previous regime in Egypt tried to block Egypt's relations with countries like Libya, Sudan and Turkey. The Turks wished to erect a large industrial city in Egypt but the Egyptian administration rejected the proposal in the past. The Turks wished to establish ferry trips between Mersin and Alexandria but the idea was again rejected by the Egyptian administration. Saudi Arabia wanted to build a bridge between Egypt and itself and this idea was also rejected by the Egyptian administration. There is no longer a regime in Egypt that would block economic development, Dr. Abdul Gafur underlined.
"We are not against tourism"
In regard to rumors that his party received financial assistance from overseas countries, Dr. Abdul Gafur said that "anyone with a proof that the Al-Nour Party received financial support from Saudi Arabia or any other country should immediately make a complaint with the prosecutor's office in Cairo. We are a clean political party".
Salafi groups' foundations receive support from every corner of the world and the Egyptian laws permit such support. It was our party that spent the least amount of money on election campaign and publicity, Dr. Abdul Gafur noted.
We are not against tourism. We wish for cultural tourism. We need to promote cultural tourism, Dr. Abdul Gafur said.
Dr. Abdul Gafur ended his interview by saying "Greetings to the people of Turkey. With God's will, Turkey and Egypt will play a role in the future of the Middle East". The last message of the interview was given in Turkish by Dr. Abdul Gafur.