ANKARA: The foreign ministers of Turkey and Egypt met on Saturday in Cairo, the first such visit in a decade, but the question now is how this dialogue might translate into action.
Mevlut Cavusoglu, the foreign minister of Turkey, and Sameh Shoukry, the foreign minister of Egypt, discussed a number of topics, including Libya (where the two countries support opposing sides), Cyprus, and maritime disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey and Egypt continue to have a common interest in the delimitation of their maritime boundaries in the East Mediterranean. It could drastically alter the course of events in the area if peace is finally achieved.
Turkiye will “soon as possible” promote diplomatic ties with Egypt to the ambassadorial level, Cavusoglu said.
Many Egyptian activists and dissidents have been living in Turkey since late 2013, but they are not considered refugees by the United Nations.
According to news reports from last month, Turkish firms have promised to invest around $500 million in Egypt to help the country weather its current economic crisis. It’s no secret that Turkey’s textile, iron and steel, glass, and home appliance industries all have a foothold in Egypt’s economy.
“Despite their common history and culture, Egypt and Turkiye have several differences in terms of political ideology,” Dalia Ziada, director of the MEEM Center for Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean Studies in Cairo, told Arab News. The fact that they have been able to set aside their differences and work out a compromise based on their bilateral and regional interests is truly remarkable and causes for celebration. Improving diplomatic ties between the two nations is a start in that direction. However, in the next stage, people-to-people diplomacy is crucial. What matters will become apparent over time. The government in a state can change at any time, but the people themselves will always be there.
Former Egyptian dissidents can no longer use Turkey as a haven from the government. Several people who made social media posts or broadcasts in Turkey inciting protests against the Egyptian government were detained. Turkish authorities have been pressuring Egyptian opposition outlets based in Turkey to be less critical of the Egyptian government since at least 2021. The Egyptian satellite TV channel Mekameleen TV, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, relocated its operations from Turkey to Egypt last year.
Ziada claimed that the Turkish government had thwarted plans to use Turkish soil as a springboard for an invasion of Egypt. That’s a big improvement. She continued, “The Muslim Brotherhood is the main financial backer of these opposition groups, but it is weakening due to several divisions in its leadership and between the leadership and the grassroots (supporters).
According to Ismail Numan Telci, deputy director of the ORSAM think tank in Ankara, the two countries’ diplomatic roles and influences in the region would grow with the restoration of diplomatic ties.
It will allow them to increase their economic and military power. In an interview with Arab News, he explained that he expects Turkey and Egypt to come to an agreement on the East Med and energy routes, both of which will benefit Turkish businesses.
Continuing, he said, “I think that Egypt can revise its stance on Libya following its high-level consultations with Turkiye, because both countries give priority to regional stability and the promotion of peace. Therefore, they can settle their differences over the Libyan conflict and work together to achieve peace.