Turkey voices readiness for normalization with Egypt

Turkey voices readiness for normalization with Egypt

Turkey voices readiness for normalization with Egypt

AFP photo

Swiftly after announcing the restoration of diplomatic ties with Israel after a six-year rupture and expressing regret to Russia over the downing of a warplane, seeking to mend strained alliances and ease a sense of isolation on the world stage, the government of Turkey has also suggested the recent resetting of ties could also extend to Egypt.

“There isn’t any obstacle [in front of] improving our economic relations with Egypt. Minister-level visits may start,” said Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım during an interview aired live on public broadcaster TRT Haber late on June 27.

When asked about expectations for the normalization of bilateral relations with Egypt, Yıldırım first of all stated that the Egypt issue was “very clear.”

“Democracy [in Egypt] has been subject to a coup. Democracy received a blow. Mr. [former Egyptian President Mohammed] Morsi, who took the office through an election, was forced to lay down his office through a coup,” he said.

The Ankara-Cairo relationship was seriously hit by the military coup staged by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in July 2013, as Turkey reacted to the ousting of Morsi with strongly-worded statements from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was prime minister at the time.

The ties have yet to normalize between the two countries, although the Turkish government has expressed its intention to mend the relationship with Egypt.

“Mr. President [Erdoğan] has stated to the world since its beginning that this is a coup and that we will never approve of this change in such a way. This is just one side of the matter. Let’s set this aside but on the other hand life goes on,” Yıldırım said, noting that the two countries lived in the same region and needed each other.

“Our ships sail to the Red Sea though the Suez Canal and from there they continue to [Saudi] Arabia, Jordan, Yemen and to the east of Africa. Therefore we cannot cut loose our relations even if we wanted to because we have a geographic connection and intimacy. I’m not even talking about our religious and cultural ties. Aside [from] the way the regime changed there and all the unjust allegations and punitions that were made, particularly to Morsi and his team after being unseated, there is no reason for the economic relations to [not] improve. Our businessmen and our investors can mutually go about improving their investments and this way ground convenient for normalization can perhaps be laid in the future,” he said.