After a decade of estrangement and diplomatic clashes, Türkiye y Egypt They have normalized this Tuesday relations with the assignment of ambassadors to the respective countries. Is the closest approach after breaking relations in 2013, when Abdel Fatah al-Sisi assumed power in Egypt after overthrowing the government of Mohamed Morsi, the Ankara-backed leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, in a coup. The decision was announced in a joint statement by the foreign ministries of Ankara and Cairo, within the framework of the diplomatic rapprochement between the two governments, which began at the end of 2020. “This step aims to normalize relations between the two countries once more and demonstrate mutual determination to work and improve bilateral relations, for the benefit of the Turkish and Egyptian people,” the statement said. The appointed ambassadors are known in both countries as they have until now acted as commercial managers: Ankara has appointed Salih Mutlu Sen as ambassador and Cairo Amr Elhamamy.
The rapprochement is part of Turkey’s efforts to repair diplomatic relations with countries in the region and end their international isolation, in the midst of an inflationary crisis that has plagued the country for more than a year. In recent months it has repaired ties with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Turkey and Egypt withdrew their ambassadors in 2013, when tensions erupted after Morsi was ousted by the Egyptian army. Erdogan called Sisi’s action a “coup” and welcomed members in exile of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization designated “terrorist” by the Egyptian government. The distance between the two countries was aggravated by other diplomatic disputes, such as the support of opposing factions in Libya or maritime disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean. Cairo interpreted the Turkish military intervention in Libya as a threat to its national security and warned that it would be ready to carry out military missions outside the country. Ankara supported the UN-backed Government of the National Authority (GNA), while Cairo backed General Khalifa Haftar. Cairo also rejected the Turkey-Libya maritime deal, which has created serious disputes over maritime jurisdictions in the Eastern Mediterranean. Last year, Egypt signed an agreement for its part with Greece and the Republic of Cyprus, which angered Ankara.
“yesterday was yesterday and today is today“, says Ihsan Catalan, a political analyst with irony. “This attempt to normalize relations between Egypt and Turkey began at the end of 2020, that is, before rapprochement with other countries took place. It’s a slow process,” he explains. “I think Al Sisi was waiting to see the result of the Turkish elections to see who he was going to deal with. Normalizing relations with Egypt is very important because it can open the door to a rapprochement with other Mediterranean countries: Libya and even Greece or Syria,” he adds.
During this decade of estrangement, trade relations between the two countries have not ceased, tripling the trade volume to eleven billion dollars, in trade in electronics, textiles, medicines and gas.