Turkiye, Egypt attempt to mend relations
Turkiye’s chief diplomat was in Cairo on Saturday for talks with Egyptian officials as regional powers seek to mend ties that have been fractured after years of tension.
Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkiye’s foreign minister, arrived in the Egyptian capital early Saturday morning. He is the highest-ranking Turkish official to visit the Arab world’s most populous country in more than a decade.
Egypt and Turkiye have been at odds since the Egyptian military toppled Muslim President Mohammed Morsi in 2013 amid mass protests against his divisive year in power. Morsi comes from the Muslim Brotherhood, supported by Turkiye. Egypt has designated the group a terrorist organization.
Cavusoglu met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to discuss “various aspects” of bilateral relations, said Ahmed Abu Zaid, a spokesman for Egypt’s foreign ministry.
Shoukry said the two sides had found common ground to restart political and economic ties in order to reach “conclusions in the interests of both countries”.
“The negotiations are deep, transparent and frank,” he told a joint televised news conference. “We certainly expect. We look at everything that can benefit the two countries.”
Cavusoglu talks about making up for lost time since the ambassadorial relationship ended in late 2013.
“There’s a lot of untapped potential but unfortunately it took us nine years and to close this nine-year gap we have to work even harder,” he said.
The Turkish minister added that relations have been eroded “due to a lack of dialogue and misunderstanding.”
Referring to the appointment of the ambassador, Cavusoglu said he was sure that diplomatic relations would return to “the highest possible level”. He also suggested the possibility of holding a formal meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi after Turkiye’s May elections.
Turkiye has abandoned a critical approach to the Egyptian leader, who as defense minister led the army to overthrow Morsi in 2013. Erdogan and el-Sissi were photographed shaking hands November during the World Cup in Qatar, as part of a concerted effort to mend relations.
The two countries have clashed in other areas, including Libya, where they support opposing sides. Such confrontations have almost led to a direct clash between the two US allies in 2020, at the height of the assault on the Libyan capital by commander Khalifa Hifter to the east, who was named Egypt support.
Egypt, Greece and several other European nations are also angered by a 2019 agreement between Turkiye and one of Libya’s rival governments that seeks to strengthen Turkey’s maritime rights and influence in the east. eastern Mediterranean. Egypt and Greece have responded by signing a separate agreement to delimit their maritime boundaries, an agreement Ankara has rejected.
Saturday’s high-level visit is the first to Cairo by a senior Turkish diplomat since former Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s official visit to the Egyptian capital in 2012 to attend a conference. Syrian opposition conference organized by the Arab League.
Shoukry and Cavusoglu met last month when the Egyptian foreign minister visited Turkiye and Syria to show solidarity with the two nations.
Associated Press writer Andrew Wilks contributed from Ankara, Turkiye.