President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met and shook hands with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, on the sidelines of the World Cup in Qatar on Nov. 20, after years of strain between the leaders of the two countries.
This short meeting was recorded as the highest level of contact between Türkiye and Egypt after Sisi seized power in Egypt on July 3, 2013, when he was the chief of staff.
Erdoğan attended the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar and met several leaders, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and King Abdullah of Jordan.
Egypt and Türkiye have been at loggerheads since a military coup staged by el-Sissi toppled Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi in mid-2013.
Türkiye strongly condemned the coup and slammed el-Sisi, who later became the head of Egypt. Cairo expelled Türkiye’s ambassador while Ankara downgraded relations in a tit-for-tat move, further fraying ties.
The two countries also sparred over a range of other issues, including the war in Libya, where they backed rival sides and maritime disputes in the eastern Mediterranean.
The efforts to normalize ties between the two countries started in 2020 through a dialogue established by the intelligence services of the respective countries.
The two countries exchanged positive signals on establishing contacts and dialogue, including the possibility of holding talks to demarcate their maritime borders in the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu several times expressed that the normalization process between Türkiye and Egypt had not seen the desired pace yet.
“We aren’t the responsible party for the slow pace of the reconciliation talks,” Çavuşoğlu said on Nov. 2. “We are sincere in trying to normalize relations with them. But as they say, it takes two to tango.”
The minister indicated that Cairo saw Türkiye’s close cooperation with Libya’s U.N.-recognised government as a reason to slow down the normalization process between their two countries.
The energy exploration deal between Türkiye and Libya was in Egypt’s interests as well, Çavuşoğlu stated.
Hurriyet Daily News