Saudi Arabia wants us to make peace with Egypt, says Turkish president
Akif Beki RIYADHSaudi Arabia wants Turkey to make peace with Egypt, which is the only disagreement between Ankara and Riyadh, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, after his official visit to the oil-rich Arab country, which coincided with a separate visit from the Egyptian president.
Speaking in an interview with daily Hürriyet on his way back to Ankara from the Saudi capital, Erdoğan said Saudi Arabia “of course wants Turkey to make up with Egypt on high-level.”
“Of course they want this, but there is no insistence,” he said, in response to a question about whether Saudi Arabia’s new King Salman had made any moves to mediate a solution to the ongoing rift between Ankara and Cairo.
Erdoğan’s meeting with King Salman came day after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi held talks with the monarch in Riyadh.
Turkish-Egyptian relations have been chilly since Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi’s ouster by el-Sisi in 2013. While Cairo accuses Turkey of interfering in Egypt’s internal affairs and of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey denounces the el-Sisi for “overthrowing an elected government through undemocratic means.”
Erdoğan said he expressed the Turkish government’s reservations about the Egyptian government to the Saudi king during their meeting. However, he also acknowledged that “we can never neglect Egypt’s presence,” underlining the importance of the north African country for regional stability and peace.
“Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. This trio is made up of the most important countries in the region. There are duties falling to all of us for the peace and welfare of the region. If all countries realize what falls to them, I believe we will yield results more easily,” Erdoğan said.
He also sought to brush off claims that Ankara’s rocky ties with Cairo were having a negative impact on its relations with Saudi Arabia.
“The real important issue for us is elevating Turkey-Saudi Arabia relations to a better level. The Egypt issue shouldn’t cast a shadow on our relations with Saudi Arabia, he said.
Erdoğan said Saudi Arabia’s stance on “almost all countries at the region,” including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Libya, overlapped with Turkey’s approach, with the exception of Egypt.
“Despite some differences about Egypt, they are not at the level that could affect our bilateral relations,” he added.