Egypt, Turkey agree on timeframe for upgrading diplomatic relations: Egyptian FM

Ahram Online , Thursday 13 Apr 2023

Egypt and Turkey have agreed on a timeframe for upgrading diplomatic relations, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Thursday during a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara.

FM Sameh Shoukry and his Turkish counterpart FM Mevl t  avu o lu
Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Çavusoglu. (Photo courtesy of Spokesperson of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry)


During the press conference, which followed a closed-door meeting between the two sides, Shoukry said that he discussed with Cavusoglu bilateral relations and ways to overcome any obstacles that prevent their development.

For his part, Cavusoglu said that talks with Egypt have achieved substantial progress on the issue of appointing ambassadors.

The Turkish top diplomat said that “a timetable for mutual ambassadorial appointments with Egypt will be announced soon”.

Shoukry noted that “the accelerating development of Egyptian-Turkish relations reflects the existence of a political will to improve relations between Egypt and Turkey in all fields.”

He added that a summit that brings together both presidents will be held in the near future and that preparations for that summit were afoot.  

Shoukry’s visit to Ankara on Thursday comes in the wake of both Çavusoglu's visit to Cairo in March and Shoukry’s earlier visit to Turkey in February in the aftermath of the deadly earthquake.

"The purpose of the visit is to continue the discussions that were initiated in Cairo to normalise relations," Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu-Zeid said in a statement on Wednesday. 

The aim is to establish "a clear roadmap for appointing ambassadors between the two countries, and to set a timeline for this matter," Abu-Zeid later added in a short interview with the Emirati TV Al-Mashhad. 

Earlier this week, during an interview with private broadcaster A Haber, FM Cavusoglu discussed the recent steps taken to normalise ties with Egypt after both countries broke off diplomatic relations a decade ago.

It is time to take concrete steps. During Shoukry’s visit, we can take steps to appoint ambassadors,” the Turkish FM said.

Cavusoglu had described his meeting with FM Shoukry in Cairo in late March as “extremely positive.”

In late February, Shoukry visited Turkey where he met FM Cavusoglu to extend condolences and offer Cairo’s support following the devastating earthquake.

Economic relations

Cavusoglu expressed the Turkish government’s desire to develop its joint relations, especially in the field of economy, with Egypt.

He stated that the Egyptian-Turkish relations in the field of energy were growing rapidly.

In mid-February, in a first such meeting in a decade amid recent thawing in relations between Cairo and Ankara, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly met with a delegation of 14 representatives of Turkish companies who are either operating in Egypt or planning to start new investments in the country.

PM Madbouly said at the time that “the message of the meeting is clear and important because it is a step towards stressing the importance of trade and economic relations between Egypt and Turkey.”

According to recent figures provided by the Commercial Counsellor of the Turkish Embassy in Cairo Atilla Yenigun, 200 Turkish companies are currently operating in Egypt with an investment volume of EGP 2 billion.

Cavusoglu said that the Turkish government will encourage Turkish companies, especially tourism companies, to invest in Egypt and to increase the number of Turkish tourists who visit Egypt.

Cavusoglu stated that his government aimed to increase the trade exchange between the two countries to $15 billion.

According to data published by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) in March, the bilateral trade volume between Egypt and Turkey increased by 14 per cent, hitting $7.7 billion in 2022, compared to $6.7 billion a year earlier.

The Turkish FM also revealed that he has asked Egypt to allow Turkish Anadolu News Agency to work again in Egypt after closing down its Cairo office in August 2013.

The cooperation between Egypt and Turkey is in the interest of both countries and the region as a whole, Cavusoglu stated. 

Agreement on regional issues 

FM Shoukry stated that the talks with his Turkish counterpart involved the latest regional and international developments, particularly the situation in Palestine, Libya and Syria.

“We appreciate the role of Egypt in the region especially in the Palestinian issue,” FM Mevlut Cavusoglu said, highlighting that Turkey and Egypt shared the same views on Palestine.

Shoukry said that he discussed with Cavusoglu cooperating and working on the Palestinian issue under the umbrella of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

He also reiterated Egypt’s call for respecting the freedom of worship and the status quo of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem. Shoukry added that the Palestinian authority should be allowed to do its job.

Speaking of Libya, the Turkish foreign minister revealed that Egypt and Turkey have a keen interest in protecting the unity and sovereignty of Libya. He noted that both countries had had doubts before about each other’s intentions regarding Libya.

“But after our dialogue, we found out that we want the same goals,” Cavusoglu said. He further revealed that Turkey was ready to train the units of the unified Libyan armed forces.

“Yet this will happen after the elections are held,” the Turkish foreign minister said.

For his part, FM Shourky said that he agreed with his Turkish counterpart on the importance of holding elections in Libya.

Shoukry also said that he reviewed with Cavusoglu the recent developments in Syria, especially following his meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal El-Mekdad in Cairo and his call with UN Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister said that both Egypt and Turkey agree on ensuring the unity of Syrian territories and the exit of all foreign forces. They also agree on the importance of fighting terrorism there.  

Shoukry also asserted the importance of reaching a comprehensive political settlement under Syrian ownership, in line with Security Council resolution No. 2254 which involves all political partners in Syria and allows the return of the Syrian refugees to their homes.

The Turkish Foreign Minister said that it was important to Turkey, as a neighbor of Syria, to protect the integrity of its territories more than others.

“Counter-terrorism efforts means ending divisions in Syria and preventing terrorism from spreading to Turkey”, he added. 




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