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Egypt Tests Ankara over Security Issues

Egypt Tests Ankara over Security Issues

Sunday, 11 April, 2021 - 08:00
Shoppers at the Egyptian Bazaar in Istanbul (EPA)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry exchanged a phone call, in yet another sign of rapprochement between the two countries.

Earlier, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly thanked President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for Turkey's efforts during its presidency of the Developing 8 Countries (D8).

An Egyptian informed source said the last two developments are part of a slow response to the process.

Cairo did not comment on the “Turkish signals” for reaching an understanding or holding meetings, which began last September, however, Shoukry said last month that his country wants "actions, not words" to restore full ties with Ankara.

The Egyptian source told Asharq Al-Awsat that his country wants to start discussing security and not political issues with Turkey.

The source stated that Egypt has set two conditions to enhance ties with Ankara.

First, Turkey must ban Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated channels from airing criticisms against Cairo or change their rhetoric, and negotiations must cover security issues first, a matter that requires political will.

Political Science professor at Cairo University Tarek Fahmy believes there is a complete set of measures that Turkey must fulfill before considering rapprochement, including the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, and the agreement on demarcation of maritime borders between Cyprus, Greece, and Libya, which is not recognized by Cairo.

Fahmy believes that the new approach between Cairo and Ankara must be based on parity and transparency with calculated caution between the two parties.

It is difficult to limit negotiations to the issue of the Muslim Brotherhood because it is not as important as the rest of the matters, which both Cairo and Ankara realize, according to the professor.

Fahmy estimates that Egypt has not shut the door completely on the negotiations, and it is trying to maintain a tactical and strategic approach, as Cairo believes Turkey is an important country and must deal with it, but with established foundations.

Researcher at al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies Karam Saeed asserted that there won’t be any rapprochement between Cairo and Ankara in the EastMed region before Egypt consults with its allies such as Greece and Cyprus.

Saeed believes both countries have a common desire for reaching an understanding, and if it is not possible to normalize relations now, they will seek calm.

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