Turkish Deputy PM see thaw in ties with Middle East

Turkish Deputy PM see thaw in ties with Middle East

Turkish Deputy PM see thaw in ties with Middle East

Jordan's King Abdullah II (L) and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (R) review the honor guard upon their arrival at the King Abdullah Airbase in Marka, Amman, on Dec. 11. AFP PHOTO/ KHALIL MAZRAAWI

Turkey has moved to revive broken ties with Middle Eastern countries, including Syria, Egypt and the Gulf states, according to Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, who stressed the "friendship and brotherhood" amid the ongoing crises in bilateral relations.

Speaking at the 5th Bosphorus Summit of Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) on Dec. 12, Arınç named Syria and Iran as "neighbors," while mentioning Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, as well as Egypt and Jordan, as "traditional friends who we have been acting together as allies."

Turkey’s policy regarding Syria had changed radically as a result of the ongoing war, leading to an era of hostility between Ankara and Damascus, who previously enjoyed a decade of cooperation and close ties.

As a rare issue of disagreement in the normally warm relations with Turkey, Iran firmly sides with the Syrian regime.

Ties between Ankara and Cairo, on the other hand, have been strained since former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi toppled elected President Mohamed Morsi, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, after mass protests against his rule last year.

So far, Turkey has stuck to its uncompromising policy vis-à-vis the Sisi regime, which it labels "the coup makers in Cairo," in contrast with the friendlier policies of other actors in the Middle East, including the Gulf states. 

"We could have experienced a coldness with the countries that I listed regarding politics or about the attitude of the administrators of these countries. But we are friends, and we are also brothers. The coldness between Turkey and these countries was the result of certain reasons, but this is rapidly experiencing a thaw now," Arınç added, arguing that Ankara's relations with the region will improve "as fast as the drying of a cheesecloth."

"Through decisions that we make in our foreign policy, we will all come to the point where we were before [having good relations with regional countries]," he claimed.

"We want stability. If [some countries] suspend their relations with Turkey, don't worry, all will be better than before soon," Arınç said.

In the frosty atmosphere after the ousting of Morsi last summer, Egypt and Turkey reciprocally declared their respective ambassadors as personae non gratae and reduced their level of diplomatic representation.

In September, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu were scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meetings in New York. The meeting was cancelled after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered a speech that fiercely criticized Sisi and what he called international inaction after Morsi's overthrow. 

Turkey kept a low profile at a donors’ conference for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip hosted by Egypt on Oct. 12, with only a general director from the Foreign Ministry participating in the conference. 

President Erdoğan, on the other hand, has yet to tone down his rhetoric against the governments of Egypt and Syria. Most recently last month, he declared his refusal to recognize the “legitimacy” of Sisi.