Turkey’s FM to visit Egypt as Erdogan mends relations with Sisi


ANKARA – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is to travel to Egypt over the weekend, the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced on Friday, in the first such diplomatic trip since 2012.

Cavusoglu will pay an official visit to the country on Saturday, the ministry’s statement read, adding that he and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry were expected to discuss bilateral, regional and international files. In a separate statement, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the meeting would take place in Cairo.

The visit will follow Shoukry’s solidarity visit to Turkey late last month after the deadly earthquakes on February 6, the first since 2016.

Ankara is trying to mend fences with Cairo as part of its regional diplomatic push aimed at restoring the country’s ties with former regional rivals, namely Saudi Arabia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Over the past year Turkey has fully restored its ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Emirates and Israel, but Ankara-Cairo progress has been slow over a series of bilateral and regional contentious files.

Post-disaster diplomacy following the earthquakes that killed more than 48,400 people in Turkey and left massive destruction across 11 Turkish provinces accelerated the process.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi offered his condolences to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the phone, marking the second meeting between the two leaders after the two leaders had a brief meeting during the opening session of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar last year . .

The two countries cut diplomatic ties after a 2013 coup in Egypt that toppled the country’s government led by the Muslim Brotherhood, which was considered a close friend of Ankara. Turkey then turned into a safe haven for some Brotherhood members and organizations associated with the movement including media outlets.

Seeking to improve ties with Cairo, Ankara has muted Turkish-based broadcasters criticizing the Sisi administration and some Brotherhood members are leaving the country.

In addition to bilateral tensions, the two countries have raised concerns over Ankara’s strong support for Brotherhood-linked or inspired groups in the region, including the Libyan conflict. While Turkey supports Tripoli-based forces in the country’s civil war, Cairo along with Moscow and Abu Dhabi have backed the eastern forces led by General Khalifa Hifter. Cairo also spearheaded a series of Arab League statements criticizing Turkey’s interventionist policies in the region.

Ankara’s diplomatic push to mend fences with its former regional rivals was aimed at overcoming its regional isolation to try to counterbalance the alliances established by Greece and Cyprus with eastern Mediterranean countries including Egypt as well to attract foreign funds to the country among the country. economic problems.

The recent Ankara-Cairo thaw comes just two months before Turkey’s critical May 14 presidential and parliamentary polls that look set to be Erdogan’s toughest re-election bid in two decades amid a deepening cost-of-living crisis. size and public anger regarding his response to. the earthquakes and floods that hit the country’s disaster zone earlier this week, killing at least 15 people.

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