Egypt and Turkey Announce Diplomatic Relations Amidst Rapprochement
After years of strained relations over various issues, including Libya and the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt and Turkey have taken a significant step towards reconciliation. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi recently announced the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries following a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, congratulating him on his victory in the May 28 presidential election. This development is expected to foster increased trade and cooperation between Egypt and Turkey, drawing the attention of analysts worldwide.
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Resumption of Diplomatic Relations
President Sisi’s announcement of the immediate upgrading of diplomatic relations and the exchange of ambassadors has been regarded as a crucial move toward normalizing the relationship between Egypt and Turkey. Özgür Ünlühisarcıklı, the German Marshall Fund’s Ankara office director, emphasized the significance of this step, indicating that it symbolizes the normalization process between the two countries. Furthermore, it is believed that Saudi Arabia has played a role in facilitating this rapprochement by utilizing its leverage over both nations.
Economic Considerations and Regional Dynamics
President Erdoğan’s primary focus after the election victory is the improvement of Turkey’s struggling economy. A reconciliation with Egypt is viewed as a step towards appeasing Saudi Arabia and enhancing trade opportunities. The East Mediterranean gas forum has been a point of contention between Egypt and Turkey, as the latter felt isolated due to its exclusion from the group. To counter this, Turkey established a maritime agreement with Libya, claiming territorial rights in the Mediterranean, raising concerns about potential conflicts over water access. The rapprochement with Egypt could alleviate these tensions and give Turkey a more prominent role in the East Mediterranean Gas Forum.
Differing Opinions on the Rapprochement
The Egyptian-Turkish reconciliation might cause disappointment for Greece, as it would lose its competitive advantage when Turkey becomes less isolated in the region. However, the United States, a key ally of Turkey, views this rapprochement as a positive development. It is expected to reduce risks in the Eastern Mediterranean, which aligns with the interests of the United States. There is also optimism about Turkey’s inclusion in the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, as indicated by positive messages from other world leaders. French President Emmanuel Macron, for instance, expressed solidarity between France and Turkey in addressing challenges in the Mediterranean Sea.
Addressing Outstanding Issues
Turkey’s support for the Libyan government is one key issue to be addressed in the context of the Egyptian-Turkish rapprochement. While the outcome remains uncertain, the cooperation between Turkey and Egypt will likely increase in managing this matter. Another primary source of tension has been Turkey’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which has faced pressure and limitations on its activities within Turkey. It is anticipated that Egypt will seek the return of Muslim Brotherhood members residing in Turkey, adding to the pressure faced by the group.
The resumption of diplomatic relations between Egypt and Turkey marks a significant turning point in their strained relationship. The willingness of both President Sisi and President Erdoğan to rebuild ties after years of disputes demonstrates a desire for increased cooperation. The announcement has garnered attention from analysts worldwide, who predict enhanced trade opportunities and regional stability due to this rapprochement. While challenges and outstanding issues remain, the step taken by Egypt and Turkey lays the foundation for a new chapter in their relationship and opens avenues for future collaboration