Erdogan’s visit to Egypt opportunity to establish new alliance: Former amb. to Turkey

Ahram Online , Wednesday 14 Feb 2024

Former Egyptian ambassador to Ankara Abdel-Rahman Salah said on Wednesday that the coming visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Cairo represents an opportunity to create a new alliance to confront the issues besetting the region.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the second day of the World Governments Summit
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the second day of the World Governments Summit in Dubai on February 13, 2024. AFP


Erdogan is scheduled to arrive in Egypt on Wednesday, marking his first visit to the North African country since 2012. He is set to discuss various regional and bilateral issues with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

In remarks to the Egyptian state news agency (MENA), Salah mentioned that the visit comes at a crucial time when both countries need each other to confront the ongoing regional developments.

This, he added, includes addressing conflicts and competitions within the international and regional systems that seek to reshape the power dynamics in the Middle.

These developments “sometimes overlook the economic interests of both Egypt and Turkey,” Salah, whose term as an ambassador to Ankara extended from 2010 to 2013, clarified.

He noted that the Gaza war has complicated regional interactions, and may lead to the fulfillment of American promises to recognize the Palestinian state without the need to formulate a peace agreement— something that is currently out of reach.

“Here, Erdogan needs to coordinate with Egypt to play an influential role in those interactions to maintain Turkey's image as a regional power,” the former ambassador said.

Egypt's regional influential role serves as a link between the Middle East and international decision-making centres, he stressed.

Currently, Egypt is hosting a fresh round of Egyptian Qatari-mediated negotiations – in the presence of American and Israeli officials – in a bid to de-escalate the situation in the Gaza Strip and help achieve a new ceasefire and detainee swap deal.

Salah considers the resumption of cooperation between Cairo and Ankara could provide Egypt with additional resources to increase its capabilities and influence as a regional and international middle power.

Meanwhile, Salah underlined the available opportunities for cooperation between the two countries regionally and bilaterally, which he said go far beyond areas of competition.

He expressed hope that Erdogan's visit to Egypt would mark the beginning of a new phase of close relations between Cairo and Ankara, built on shared interests and lessons learned from past mistakes.

Normalization efforts

Both nations are moving forward with normalizing ties after a decade-long rupture; the visit is the first since Ankara and Cairo upgraded relations, reinstating ambassadors last summer.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries were strained after the 2013 ouster of Egypt’s late Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsy.

Economic relations

Turkish investments in Egypt stood at more than $2.5 billion by April 2023, Egyptian Trade and Industry Minister Ahmed Samir said in a statement on Tuesday.

Trade exchange between the two countries hit $ 5.875 billion in 2023, with Egypt's exports to Turkey growing by 28 percent, compared to 2022, recording $2.9 billion

Turkey, Samir said, has become one of the largest importers and major trade partners of Egypt in 2023.

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