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Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu signaled Ankara's openness to improving relations with EgyptImage: Russian Foreign Ministry/dpa/picture alliance
PoliticsMiddle East

Turkey, Egypt have first diplomatic contact since 2013

March 12, 2021

Ankara and Cairo are eyeing restoring relations as Turkey tries to fix its worn diplomatic ties in the region, hinting at openness to reconciliation with Gulf countries.

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Ankara has restarted diplomatic contact with Cairo for the first time since 2013, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday.

Tensions between the two countries have been simmering over Turkey's support for Egypt's ousted Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated president and most recently over the war in Libya.

According to Reuters news agency, two Egyptian intelligence sources said Turkey proposed a meeting to discuss restoring relations, but added that communication was still only preliminary.

No strings attached 

Egypt and Turkey have agreed to "gradually" restore relations "without any pre-conditions," Cavusoglu said.

Cavusoglu said a lack of trust between the two was expected at the early stages of reconciliation. 

"For this reason, negotiations are taking place and continuing under a certain strategy, road map," Turkey's news agency Anadolu quoted Cavusoglu as saying.      

Why did Egypt and Turkey cut ties? 

In November 2013, Egypt and Turkey expelled each other's ambassadors and reduced diplomatic contact to the level of charge d'affaires. 

An Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman cited Ankara's attempts to "influence public opinion" and supporting "meetings of organizations that seek to create instability in the country."

At the time, Egypt's now-President Army General Abdel Fattah el-Sissi had just toppled the elected Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, who was allied with Turkey.

Egypt and Turkey also had a row over the conflict in Libya, with Ankara and Cairo backing opposing sides. 

 

Turkey's change of heart

Turkey is believed to be seeking restoration of some of its strained diplomatic relations with Arab countries, as pressure piles on Ankara with recent sanctions by the United States. 

Cavusoglu said on Friday Turkey was willing to reciprocate any "positive steps" that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates take towards solving tensions with Ankara. 

"There is no reason for our ties with Saudi Arabia not to be fixed. If they take positive steps, we will take positive steps. The same goes for the UAE. We don't want to fight with anyone," he said.

The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul strained the two countries' relations. 

The UAE and Turkey also have accused each other of disrupting regional stability with their roles in the Libyan war.

fb/rs (AFP, DPA, Reuters) 

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