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Turkey Eyes 'Acceleration' in Rapprochement With Cautious Egypt

Turkey Eyes 'Acceleration' in Rapprochement With Cautious Egypt

Sunday, 9 May, 2021 - 07:15
Turkish Deputy Foreign Ministry Sedat Onal, seated right, meets with Hamdi Sanad Loza, Egyptian deputy foreign minister, along with their delegations, at the Egyptian Foreign ministry (AP)

Turkey and Egypt concluded their "exploratory talks” that discussed the necessary steps leading to the normalization of relations between the two countries.

Following the meeting, Turkish officials showed a desire to "accelerate" the steps of rapprochement with Cairo, while the Egyptian officials remained cautious.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry described the talks as "frank and in-depth," while Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that his country's relations with Cairo will reach high levels soon.

Speaking at a meeting with the special forces, Akar asserted that relations with Egypt are developing, and “this pleases a friend and gives confidence, and at the same time it frightens some.”

Akar said that there may have been a pause in the relations between the two countries for several reasons.

He noted his confidence that this will be overcome in a short time, pointing out that the development of relations between Ankara and Cairo would be extremely beneficial and necessary for Turkey, Libya, and Egypt.

Similarly, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced the beginning of a “new period” after the conclusion of the Cairo talks, adding that a meeting at the level of foreign ministers will possibly be held between the two sides.

Cavusoglu emphasized that the meetings “were held in a positive atmosphere."

"Our friends discussed bilateral relations and what could be done about it.”

However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said there was a will to expand and develop the relations, focusing more on the ties between the two people.

"We are making efforts to restore our historic relations not as enemies but as friends,” he said.

Relations between Cairo and Ankara have been strained since 2013, leading to a reduction of diplomatic relations, after Erdogan took a stance against the June 30 Revolution that toppled the late Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

Researcher at al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Karam Saeed, believes that there is some sort of contradiction in the Turkish statements.

He explained that the defense and foreign ministers speak of full normalization and understanding on several regional issues, while Erdogan is limiting the issue to cultural and history-related matters.

Saeed told Asharq Al-Awsat that this disparity will force Cairo to be more cautious in dealing with Turkish steps.

Last September, Turkey began hinting at wanting to reach an “understanding” or “hold meetings” with Egypt.

In response, Cairo said that it was keen on maintaining the close relationship between the two peoples, but the political situation and positions of some Turkish officials were negative, calling for “real actions.”

The researcher explained that Egypt remains doubtful of the Turkish moves, especially after the visit of the Turkish foreign and defense ministers to Libya in conjunction with the launch of the talks in Cairo.

Saeed added that the steps that Turkey has taken within the framework of controlling the media and political behavior of the Muslim Brotherhood members residing in Turkey, is not enough for Cairo.

This remains a point of contention and a step that must be addressed in the path of understanding, according to Saeed.

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