Turkey and Egypt renew diplomatic ties

Turkey and Egypt have resumed diplomatic contacts for the first time since their relationship broke in 2013 after the dismissal of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

“Contacts at the diplomatic level have started with Egypt,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu said on March 12, quoted by the Turkish state press agency Anadolu. Ankara has multiplied in recent weeks soothing statements towards Cairo.

Relations between Ankara and Cairo were greatly strained when the first democratically elected president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, from the Muslim Brotherhood and supported by Turkey, was dismissed in 2013. Turkey has also hosted many Egyptian dissidents from the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly called the current Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a “coup leader”.

These events in Egypt had weakened the regional policy of Turkey, which had turned resolutely towards the Arab countries and the AKP feared a decline of its influence in the region, its role as an example and model of success of a Islamizing regime which had strengthened since the beginning of the Arab Spring.

Turkish leaders have muted their criticism of the regime. They believe that a rapprochement with Cairo would serve their interests in at least two major issues: the sharing of gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean and the situation in Libya.

Last August, Egypt and Greece signed an agreement delimiting their maritime borders, while a crisis between Ankara and Athens over hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean, angering Ankara.

But at the beginning of March, the head of Turkish diplomacy said he was “ready” to negotiate a maritime delimitation agreement with Egypt in the eastern Mediterranean, which is rich in hydrocarbons.

With the arrival of Joe Biden as head of the United States, Turkey is all the more encouraged to break its isolation in the region. The head of Turkish diplomacy has also wanted to repair relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.