Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey's Foreign Minister (Photo: Reuters)
Following visits to Egypt, Tunisia and Libya last week, the three North African countries that have undergone revolutions this year, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the New York Times in an interview that Turkey is planning to form an alliance with post-revolution Egypt.
“This is what we want,” Davutoglu told the NY Times in an interview published on Sunday.
According to the Times Davutoglu criticised Israel and Syria, former allies of Turkey, and speculated that an alliance with Egypt, the most populous Arab country, would shift power in the Middle East as American influence decreases.
"This will not be an axis against any other country — not Israel, not Iran, not any other country, but this will be an axis of democracy, real democracy,” he added.
“There will be an axis of democracy of the two biggest nations in our region, from the north to the south, from the Black Sea down to the Nile Valley in Sudan.”
Turkey's increasing popularity in Egypt could be seen in last week's open-armed welcome and larger than life sized billboards of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is respected by most Egyptians. Davutoglu and 280 businessmen accompanied the Turkish delegation to Cairo.
The Turkish foreign minister told the Times he predicts Turkey will continue to invest in Egypt.
"For democracy, we need a strong economy," he told the NY Times.
During the NY Times interview, Davutoglu said he expects both political and economic cooperation between Turkey and Egypt, predicting an increase in investment and trade.
“For the regional balance of power, we want to have a strong, very strong Egypt,” Davutoglu said to the NY Times.
“Some people may think Egypt and Turkey are competing. No. This is our strategic decision. We want a strong Egypt now."