Turkey to invite Egypt for Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit
Turkey will invite Egypt to the 13th Summit of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul on April 10-15, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç said Jan. 8, in spite of the poor ties between Ankara and Cairo.
Official invitations have yet to be sent, the spokesperson told a press conference. Egypt will decide who will represent Cairo at the summit, during which Egypt will hand over the summit term presidency to Turkey, he added.
If President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi decides to represent Cairo at the summit, it would be the first high-level visit to Turkey since ties hit rock-bottom following Islamist President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster by the Egyptian military in 2013.
Current Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail could also represent Cairo at the summit, according to diplomatic sources.
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 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 President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s heavy-worded statements against the Egyptian leadership.
Egypt asks Israel to keep Turkey away from Gaza
Meanwhile, Egypt has approached Israel to ask for clarification regarding recent progress in its reconciliatory talks with Turkey, Israel’s daily Haaretz reported on Jan. 7.
Egypt reportedly expressed its reservations regarding a possible role for Turkey in the Gaza Strip and asked whether Israel had committed to any easing of restrictions in the embargo imposed on Gaza.
Senior Egyptian Foreign Ministry officials reportedly met with Israel’s ambassador, Haim Koren, and asked if the reports were correct and whether Israel and Turkey were indeed close to reconciling.
The temporary chargé d’affaires at the Egyptian embassy in Tel Aviv delivered similar messages in a recent meeting with senior Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem. Egypt has expressed its opposition to any Israeli concessions to Turkey with regard to the Gaza Strip.