Turkey has cited an increased momentum in normalization efforts in ties with two regional powers, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, on the day the second round of exploratory talks with the latter that was held in the Turkish capital.
Senior Turkish and Egyptian diplomats launched two-day talks in Ankara three months after the first round of talks were held in Cairo. Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal and Egypt’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hamdi Loza are chairing the talks slated to end on Sept. 8.
The two nations broke ties in mid-2013 following the military coup staged by current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as Turkey became one of the loudest critics of the toppling of Egypt’s first democratically elected head of nation, Mohamed Morsi.
The first political consultations between Turkey and Egypt were held on May 5 and 6 in Cairo with a joint statement that announced the continuation of mutual efforts for the reconciliation.
“A process has been launched. Necessary concrete steps in line with a road map can be taken in the coming period,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told private broadcaster NTV on early Sept. 7.
“We will take that step if we agree on exchanging [ambassadors] in the next stage,” Çavuşoğlu said on a question whether Ankara and Cairo would agree exchanging ambassadors as a result of talks.
Recalling that he had a chance for a brief discussion with Egyptian Foreign Minister Samih Shukri during an international meeting in Baghdad late August, Çavuşoğlu said his contact with his Egyptian counterpart has never been cut even in the tensest periods.
On a question about Egypt’s continued cooperation with Greek Cyprus and Greece on the hydrocarbon activities in the eastern Mediterranean, Çavuşoğlu reiterated Turkey’s willingness to sign a maritime demarcation agreement with Cairo. “We can start negotiations and make this deal. If they make this deal with us, they will gain more areas. But we even have not yet appointed ambassadors,” he said.
Turkey’s policy concerning the eastern Mediterranean is based on the protection of its rights and resolving the differences through dialogue. The East Med Forum that brings Greece, Egypt, Greek Cyprus, Israel and others together cannot succeed if it continues to isolate Turkey and Turkish Cyprus and ignore their rights, the minister stated.
Positive climate with UAE
On a question about recent mutual efforts by Turkey and the UAE for normalization, Çavuşoğlu cited positive momentum with the Gulf country. “There is a positive momentum and ties can fall back on track if this continues,” he said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a phone conversation with the Emirates’ de facto leader, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, two weeks ago, Çavuşoğlu recalled, saying “There is no permanent enmity and permanent friendship in foreign relations.”
The minister also cited mutual efforts for mending ties with Saudi Arabia, stressing that resolving the standoff between Qatar and the Gulf nations positively reflected on these countries’ ties with Turkey.
Hurriyet Daily News