Turkey may hold ministerial-level contact with Egypt for now, says President
Vahap Munyar - DAKAR/ISTANBUL
AA photoTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has categorically ruled out meeting with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi until death penalty sentences for ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders are lifted, while giving a green light for ministerial-level talks between the two estranged countries.
“My stance on that issue is clear; in the first place, I will not meet Sisi until the decisions of death penalty for Morsi and his friends are reviewed and lifted. Our ministers may meet with their counterparts,” Erdoğan said on Feb. 5, when asked about developments in bilateral relations with Egypt.
“But I wouldn’t find our prime minister’s [Ahmet Davutoğlu] meeting [with his Egyptian counterpart] appropriate,” Erdoğan added, while speaking with reporters en route from Dakar to Istanbul as he wrapped up a Latin America tour that covered Chile, Peru and Ecuador.
“Turkey and Egypt are two peoples, two countries which are from the same culture and believe in same standards of judgments. Of course, we shouldn’t break away,” Erdoğan said.
In response to a question, Erdoğan said he hoped signs of rapprochement in ties between Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brothers would “soften” Egypt’s stance as well.
Ties between Ankara and Cairo have been strained since former army chief el-Sisi toppled Morsi, who is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, after mass protests against his rule.
So far, Turkey has retained its uncompromising policy vis-à-vis the el-Sisi regime, which it labels as the “coup makers in Cairo,” in contrast to the friendlier policies of other actors in the Middle East, including the Gulf countries.
Two attempts to mend ties between Turkey and Egypt were scuttled by Erdoğan’s heavy-handed statements against Egyptian leadership.