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Erdogan and Egypt's Sisi to meet — Turkish minister

Ankara wants 'to restore relations between two countries at highest level', says FM

By AFP - Mar 18,2023 - Last updated at Mar 18,2023

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (right) and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, give a joint press conference in Cairo, Saturday (AFP photo)

CAIRO — Turkey's top diplomat said on Saturday President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi would meet to mark the end of a decade of estrangement between the two countries.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, speaking alongside his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry during a visit to Cairo, said Ankara wanted "to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries at the highest level".

Shoukry said there was a "political will coming from the presidents of our two countries... seeking to normalise relations".

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan welcomed Cavusoglu's visit to Cairo as an "important step towards a more stable and prosperous region".

It follows a trip by Shoukry to Turkey last month to show solidarity after the devastating earthquake that claimed tens of thousands of lives in Turkey and neighbouring Syria.

"It is possible that we will disagree in the future, but we will do everything to avoid breaking our relations again," Cavusoglu said.

Relations ran into trouble after the 2013 ouster of Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, an ally of Turkey.

At the time, Erdogan said he would "never" speak to "anyone" like Sisi.

But in November, Sisi and Erdogan shook hands in Qatar, in what the Egyptian presidency heralded as a new beginning in their ties, and the two leaders then spoke by telephone after the February 6 earthquake.

Cavusoglu on Saturday said the meeting between Erdogan and Sisi would take place “after the Turkish elections”, including the presidential vote slated for May 14.

While diplomatic exchanges were once frosty, business never stopped: In 2022, Turkey was the largest importer of Egyptian products totalling $4 billion.

But disagreements remain, with Turkey home to Arab journalists critical of their governments, in particular Egyptian media close to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group outlawed by Cairo.

Cairo and Ankara also disagree over Libya, where Turkey has sent military advisers backing forces opposed to Egyptian ally Khalifa Haftar, the eastern based Libyan military strongman.

 

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