Egypt has imposed new restrictions aimed at preventing women from traveling to Turkey, Egyptian police said Sunday. The move comes months after similar measures were put in place for men to discourage them from joining militant groups in nearby countries.
A separate security clearance would be required for all Egyptian women aged 18 to 40 who intend to travel to Turkey, Agence France-Presse reported, citing a senior police official. "A security clearance can be acquired within 72 hours, and it is now mandatory for women traveling to this country (Turkey)," the officer said.
In March, Egypt’s official Islamic authority issued a warning that urged women to be wary of foreign jihadists who may try to woo them into traveling to territory controlled by the Islamic State group.
Relations between Egypt and Turkey have deteriorated since the 2013 ouster of former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, who was overthrown by the military.
The Saturday decision to sentence Morsi to death prompted further censure from Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. "We never make friends with those who sentence a democratically-elected president to death," Davutoglu said on Sunday, condemning the government as “modern-day pharaohs,” according to local news site Anatolu Agency.
Human rights groups also criticized the Egyptian court's decision, with Amnesty International calling it a “charade.”
Jihadist groups have launched attacks in Egypt, especially in the poorly policed Sinai Peninsula region, since Morsi was imprisoned in 2013. His Muslim Brotherhood party was declared illegal by the military government that came to power, and since then, hundreds of its alleged supporters and members have been sentenced to death.
Hours after Morsi’s sentence was handed out by the court, three judges were gunned down in the city of al-Arish in Sinai. However, it was unclear whether the events were related.
In November, the Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis pledged allegiance to ISIS, further heightening security concerns in the region.
Cairo has also accused Turkey of backing terrorist groups, alleging that it turns a blind eye to the influx of foreign fighters who go through Turkey to fight in Syria. Ankara has denied the allegations.