Senior Egyptian and Turkish diplomats are holding the first Cairo talks in a decade
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said that diplomatic relations would be upgraded to ambassadorial level “as soon as possible.”
Egypt’s foreign minister said talks with Turkey on the possibility of restoring relations to ambassadorial level would take place at an “appropriate time” during the first visit to Cairo by Turkey’s top diplomat since relations were severed a decade ago.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said at a joint press conference on Saturday that Turkey would upgrade its diplomatic relations with Egypt to ambassadorial level “as soon as possible.”
“I am very happy that we are taking concrete steps to normalize relations with Egypt… We will do our best not to sever our relations again in the future,” Cavusoglu said.
“We will come to the talks (about returning the ambassadors) at the appropriate time, depending on the positive results it achieves,” Shoukry said.
Relations between Turkey and Egypt were severely strained after then-Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, an ally of Ankara, in 2013. Sisi was elected president the following year.
The two countries have also been at odds in recent years over Libya, where they backed rival factions in an unresolved conflict, as well as over maritime borders in the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean.
Cavusoglu said on Saturday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Sisi will meet “after the Turkish elections,” including the presidential elections scheduled for May 14, marking the end of a decade of estrangement between the two countries.
Diplomatic relations ‘remain low’
Reporting from Istanbul, Al Jazeera’s Rasul Sardar said that two intertwined issues have yet to be resolved in Egyptian-Turkish relations.
“There is a promise to restore relations, but relations at the diplomatic level are still very low,” Sardar said, noting that the two countries’ opposing positions on Libya and the eastern Mediterranean are the main sticking points.
He added, “Turkey and Egypt support different parties. Turkey supports the internationally recognized government based in Tripoli.” [in Libya] While Egypt supports Benghazi and Khalifa Haftar and his army there.”
Libya has seen little peace since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, and it was divided in 2014 between rival eastern and western factions, drawing in regional powers.
“In 2019, the East Mediterranean Gas Forum was formed…but Turkey was intentionally excluded. In response, Turkey signed a maritime agreement with the Tripoli government.”
Consultations between senior State Department officials began in Ankara and Cairo in 2021 amid a Turkish attempt to ease tensions with Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
As part of that initial reconciliation, Ankara asked Egyptian opposition television channels operating in Turkey to tone down their criticism of Egypt.
Morsi death in prison in Egypt in 2019. Other prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been imprisoned in Egypt or fled abroad, and the group remains banned.
Last month, Shoukry visited Turkey in a show of solidarity after massive earthquakes Which killed more than 50 thousand people in Turkey and Syria.
The Egyptian government, which is struggling to manage an acute shortage of foreign currency, said Turkish companies have committed $500 million in new investments in Egypt.