Egypt detains 29 people on suspicion of espionage for Turkey

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s public prosecutor has ordered the detention of 29 people suspected of espionage on behalf of Turkey and joining a terrorist organization, state news agency MENA reported on Wednesday.

According to the results of an investigation by the General Intelligence Services, the group has been recording phone calls and passing information to Turkish intelligence as part of a plan to bring the Muslim Brotherhood back to power in Egypt, MENA said.

The nationalities of the suspects were not specified. They are also accused of money laundering and trading currency without a license.

Ties between Ankara and Cairo have been strained since the army ousted President Mohamed Mursi of the Brotherhood following mass protests against his rule in 2013.

The Muslim Brotherhood has close ties with Turkey’s ruling AK Party and many of its members have fled to Turkey since the group’s activities were banned in Egypt.

Following Mursi’s ouster, Egypt branded the Brotherhood, the world’s oldest Islamist movement, a terrorist organisation and most of its senior members have been arrested, driven into exile or underground.

The Brotherhood says it is a peaceful organization and has condemned the crackdown.

Reporting by Haitham Ahmed; Writing by Nadine Awadalla; editing by Ralph Boulton