Egypt invites Turkish FM to Gaza conference in Cairo

Egypt invites Turkish FM to Gaza conference in Cairo

Sevil Erkuş ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Egypt invites Turkish FM to Gaza conference in Cairo

Egypt’s el-Sisi has frequently been the target of Turkish President Erdoğan's wrath. AFP Photo

Egypt has invited Turkey to a donors’ conference for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, after months of strained relations between the two countries.

The meeting, initiated by Egypt and Norway, will be at the level of foreign ministers; an invitation to the conference was recently extended by the Egyptian Embassy in Ankara to the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

A Foreign Ministry official told the Hürriyet Daily News that Turkey, in principle, had decided to attend the gathering, but the level of participation has yet to be decided.

If Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu participates in the meeting in Cairo on Oct. 12, it will be a breakthrough in ties, as no high-level visit has been paid between Turkey and Egypt since relations deteriorated when the Egyptian military toppled President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Egypt and Turkey reciprocally declared their respective ambassadors as personae non gratae and reduced the level of diplomatic representation in 2013.

Earlier, minor attempts to restore bilateral ties were hampered due to public statements by political leaders. Recently, the Turkish government invited the Egyptian embassy’s chargé d’affaires in Ankara, Hussein el-Saharty, to both the inauguration ceremony of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the annual Victory Day reception. El-Saharty participated in the inauguration ceremony on Aug. 28, but after Erdoğan’s criticism of his country in an interview to Al-Jazeera, el-Saharty did not attend the Victory Day reception on Aug. 30.

Turkish-Arab League Forum in limbo for two years

The deterioration between Ankara and Cairo has also had repercussions on Turkey’s relations with the Arab League, as the Turkish-Arab Cooperation Forum, a political venue that aims to strengthen cooperation between Turkey and Arab League countries, has been left in limbo for two years.

No Arab country has offered to host the meeting so far due to tense relations between Ankara and Cairo, where the headquarters of the Arab League is based. This year, the current prime minister and then-foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, attempted to revive the forum but without success.

Meanwhile, two weeks ago, the secretary-general of the Arab League, a former Egyptian diplomat, congratulated Davutoğlu on acceding to his new post.