Turkey and Egypt taking steps to mend relations

Turkey and Egypt taking steps to mend relations

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey and Egypt taking steps to mend relations

Turkish supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi beat a portrait of military chief al-Sisi with slippers during a rally outside the Egyptian embassy in Ankara.

Ankara and Cairo have begun taking steps to restore ties, after a few weeks of considerable turbulence in the aftermath of the military coup in Egypt. Turkey is expected to send a new ambassador to the Egyptian capital to demonstrate its willingness to continue working with the interim government.

Turkey’s new ambassador to Cairo, Ahmet Yıldız, is expected to replace Hüseyin Avni Botsalı in the coming weeks and will start his work after presenting his credentials to interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour. The replacement will take place if the situation becomes calmer in Egypt, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.

Turkey could not stay out of the picture

The first sign of rapprochement between Ankara and Cairo was given by President Abdullah Gül, who sent a congratulatory message to Mansour on the occasion of the national day. The decision was taken after the conclusion that Turkey could not stay out of the picture in the Middle East at a moment when U.S.-brokered peace process talks were about to be revived.

Turkey remained alone in categorically rejecting the coup in Egypt while Western and Arab heavyweights supported the interim government politically and financially.

Strongly worded statements issued by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received a rather soft reply from the new government in Egypt while the Egyptian envoy in Ankara, Abdelrahman Salaheldin, conducted intense diplomacy to explain the motives for the military intervention in Egypt and to ensure that bilateral relations be kept unaffected by this process.

Turkey will continue to voice its opposition to the military coup in Egypt and ask for a rapid normalization through fair and inclusive elections, sources said. The same sources said diplomatic channels between the two countries were open and there was an intact dialogue between Ankara and Cairo.

For the interim government, which welcomed Gül’s message, keeping good relations with Turkey is critically important. “Neither Turkey nor Egypt can turn its back on the other,” a diplomatic source said.

Turkey and Egypt deepened economic, trade and strategic ties during ousted President Mohamed Morsi’s short mandate and created an efficient environment for both sides’ businessmen and investors. Turkish investors have been worried about their investments due to the uncertainty and concerns about political stability in Egypt after the military coup brought a new interim government. Around 250 Turkish companies have investments in Egypt totaling around $2 billion.

Egypt reassures Turkish businessmen

The Hürriyet Daily News learned that Salaheldin will meet July 29 with Turkish businessmen and trade circles that have investments and business in Egypt to alleviate their concerns. The message to be delivered will be that Egypt’s policies regarding Turkish businessmen will not change and ongoing projects and contracts will be unaffected by political developments.

“Relations between Turkey and Egypt are historic, strategic and multifaceted. Keeping these relations intact is very important for both the countries and for the entire region as well,” sources told the Daily News.