Turkish delegation to arrive in Egypt on May 1 in reconciliation drive

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks to the media in Ankara, Turkey, September 4, 2020. (Reuters)
Short Url
  • Mevlut Cavusoglu said a Turkish ambassador to Egypt would be appointed soon, after Egypt expelled Turkey’s diplomats in November 2013
  • Cairo had set conditions for normalizing relations, and in the first tangible step to ease tension Ankara pressed down on Muslim Brotherhood channels operating in Turkey

CAIRO: A Turkish delegation will visit Egypt in May in response to an invitation from the Egyptian side, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a statement.

This comes one day after Cavusoglu announced the beginning of a new phase in relations between Turkey and Egypt, with the possibility that there will be reciprocal visits in the coming period by ministers and diplomats. He said a Turkish ambassador to Egypt would be appointed soon, after Egypt expelled Turkey’s diplomats in November 2013. 

Last month, Turkey had said that it had resumed its diplomatic contacts with Egypt and wanted to improve cooperation after years of tension since the Egyptian revolution in 2013 against President Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, who was close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Cairo had set conditions for normalizing relations, and in the first tangible step to ease tension Ankara pressed Muslim Brotherhood channels operating in Turkey to reduce the severity of the criticism directed at Egypt. It also offered assistance to Egypt in solving the Ever Given tanker crisis that blocked the Suez Canal for days.

Ahmed Samir, a political analyst on Turkish affairs, said that Turkey had pledged to implement more measures against the Brotherhood before the end of Ramadan. However, Egypt demanded faster action, and the Turks appear to have done this, announcing that two Egyptian journalists in Ankara who were famous for attacking the Egyptian regime has been silenced.

“Cairo may have accepted the measures that Turkey took,” he said.

Samir said that the head of Turkish intelligence, Hakan Fidan, was in charge of negotiation with Cairo over issues such as the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya, but he was waiting for Erdogan’s final decision. He noted that Ankara had already implemented many of Cairo’s requests for the normalization of relations, and the meeting that was announced by the Turkish foreign minister is one form of this normalization.

There was no official response from Egypt to Cavusoglu’s statement, but a few days ago Arab media outlets reported that Cairo had suspended contact with Turkey until further notice, due to Ankara’s slow withdrawal of mercenaries from Libya. Cairo made it clear that the talks on the restoration of Egyptian-Turkish relations were suspended until the Egyptian demands had been implemented.

Sources told Arab News indicated that Ankara requested more time to withdraw its military advisers and its members from Libya. They also said that Ankara had suspended a number of Muslim Brotherhood activities. Cairo had demanded that these measures be made permanent and called for the handover of terrorists Yahya Moussa and Alaa Al-Samahi but Turkey had asked for more time to respond. 

Samir pointed out that the return of relations between the two countries would benefit both countries in the reduction of tension and promote the sharing of natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

The analyst said that the new American approach under Joe Biden encouraged the countries of the region to sort out their relations independently.

Fadi Sayed, an Egyptian analyst in international relations, confirmed that if the Turks were in good faith then the relationship with a large country such as Egypt, which makes up a quarter of the population of the Arab world, could not be ignored and both peoples would benefit.