Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a news conference in Istanbul. Reuters/File
Cavusoglu said in a speech on NTV that normalisation of ties between Turkey and Egypt is vital for the Eastern Mediterranean.
Egypt and Turkey held two rounds of talks last year – the first held in Cairo in May, and the second in Ankara in September. The talks were headed by Egypt’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hamdy Loza and his Turkish counterpart Sadat Onal.
According to joint statements following each round of talks, the discussions were “frank and in-depth,” and both countries agreed to continue engaging in exploratory talks in the future.
“Now the third round [of talks] is possible. We may meet with [Egyptian] Foreign Minister Shoukry and others,” the Turkish top diplomat said, adding that no date has been set so far.
Cavusoglu said on Thursday that a reciprocal reappointment of ambassadors is possible, and the will exists on both sides to normalise ties.
Egypt’s relations with Turkey have been strained – with no shared ambassadors – since the 2013 ouster of Egypt’s late Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was backed by the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The rift between the two countries then continued to widen, most notably when Turkey voiced its opposition to the 30 June Revolution of 2013 and its condemnation of Egypt’s judicial sentences against members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt designated a terrorist organisation in 2013.
Egypt has also slammed Turkey for harbouring members and leading figures of the Muslim Brotherhood and allowing them to voice their anti-Egyptian government rhetoric on Turkish TV channels.
This is in addition to Turkey’s military presence in Libya, a country that shares a 1,115 kilometre-long-border with Egypt and the stability of which is viewed as critical to Egypt’s national security.
In late May, following the first round of talks with Turkey, FM Shoukry affirmed the need for Egyptian interests to be preserved and for Turkey to not interfere in Egypt’s domestic affairs.
Egypt seeks to reach a point where there is “clear political ground” that meets the needs of both Egypt and Turkey, in the event the exploratory talks between the two countries yield positive results, Shoukry said at the time.
Cavusoglu’s comments today come nearly a week after his remarks that Ankara “will soon” take additional steps to normalise relations with Egypt, building upon the steps it has already taken.