Egypt, Turkey FMs agree to upgrade ties: Turkish Daily Sabah

Ahram Online , Monday 20 Mar 2023

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu have agreed to bolster relations between Egypt and Turkey, Çavuşoğlu told the Daily Sabah and other Turkish media outlets on Monday.

Egypt s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, give a joint press conference in Cairo, on March 18, 2023. AFP

"We agreed to maximise our diplomatic relations. We have evaluated the steps needed for the next process. I invited him [Shoukry] to Ankara,” adding that he “wanted to host him, especially during the month of Ramadan," Çavuşoğlu said.

The remarks were made following Çavuşoğlu’s visit to Cairo on Saturday that marked the first visit by a Turkish foreign minister to Egypt in the past 11 years.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries have been strained since the 2013 ouster of Egypt’s late Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsy. 

Relations have been thawing between Egypt and Türkiye over the past months with Türkiye’s foreign minister declaring that preparations are underway for an official meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

“We [Turkey] have already announced at [Egypt’s] news conference that we have initiated this process," Çavuşoğlu said on Monday.

It was revealed during the presser that the meeting between Shoukry and his Turkish counterpart tackled the restoration of representation at the ambassadorial level, without providing a specific date.

Shoukry visited Adana after the devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria on 6 February, marking the first Egyptian foreign minister visit to Turkey in 11 years.

Egypt sent aid to both countries to help them face the aftermath of the earthquake.

In November, El-Sisi and Erdoğan briefly met on the sidelines of the World Cup in Qatar and agreed to strengthen relations while also affirming their deep historical relations, according to a statement by the Egyptian presidency.

A few days after the meeting, Erdoğan said he told President El-Sisi that he is keen to end the nine-year rupture between Turkey and Egypt and to avoid a problem between the two countries in the Mediterranean.

On Libya

Çavuşoğlu stressed that the two countries are not rivals in the North African country, adding that they should work together for the stability in Libya. 

“We exchanged views, especially on regional issues,” Çavuşoğlu said about his meeting with Shoukry, adding that the talks were conducted “openly and clearly.”   

 “We will intensify our consultations on [Libya] as well," he noted.

Turkey's military presence in Libya is not a threat to Egypt, Çavuşoğlu declared, noting that the “most legitimate [foreign] presence in Libya is Turkey's military presence.”

Tensions between Egypt and Turkey rose in early October after Ankara signed in 2019 a series of preliminary economic agreements with Libya's Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU) on hydrocarbon exploration in Libya's Mediterranean waters.

Egypt rejected these agreements between Ankara and Tripoli, saying that the GNU’s mandate has expired and that it is not authorised to sign such deals.

Turkey's agreement with Libya over maritime authority areas was not against Egypt's interests, the Turkish foreign minister stressed in his statements to Turkish media.

Çavuşoğlu asserted that while Turkey is in touch with both opposing political parties in Libya, it only “recognises the legitimate government in Libya.”

Economic Relations

“We touched on all matters from energy, shipping, and transportation to our companies and investments here [Turkey],” Çavuşoğlu added.

Trade between Turkey and Egypt is estimated at $10 billion, and Egypt wishes to receive more Turkish investments, Çavuşoğlu said.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly met with a delegation of 14 representatives of Turkish companies either operating in Egypt or planning to start new investments in the country in February. The meeting was the first of its kind in a decade.  

Concerning liquefied natural gas (LNG), Çavuşoğlu announced that Turkey wants to make a “long-term LNG agreement” adding that the balance is in Egypt’s favour.

Turkey proposed establishing a Joint Economic and Trade Commission mechanism since the countries on the subject in 1996, the Turkish foreign minister continued.

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