Egypt wants actions not words to restore full ties with Turkey

“If we find a real change in Turkish (foreign) policy aligning with those of Egypt to stabilise the region… that could lay the groundwork to normalise relations,” state newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm quoted Shoukry as saying.
Monday 15/03/2021
A file picture of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry at an Arab League meeting. (REUTERS)
A file picture of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry at an Arab League meeting. (REUTERS)

CAIRO--Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry acknowledged Sunday that diplomatic contact had been established with Turkey but warned full ties would depend on “a real change in Turkish policy,” state media reported.

Ankara and Cairo had a dramatic falling out when Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted the Turkish-backed Islamist leader Muhammad Morsi in 2013.

The two regional powers have since sparred over a range of issues and found themselves on opposite sides of the war in Libya.

“If we find a real change in Turkish (foreign) policy aligning with those of Egypt to stabilise the region… that could lay the groundwork to normalise relations,” state newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm quoted Shoukry as saying.

His comments, the first by a senior Egyptian official on the record, came after Ankara said Friday it had established its first diplomatic contacts with Cairo in over seven years.

But “words are not enough, they must be matched by deeds,” Shoukry cautioned Sunday, addressing parliament’s foreign relations committee.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been extending olive branches to his rivals in the face of potential sanctions from the European Union and a tough new diplomatic line from US President Joe Biden.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Turkish state media on Friday that the two countries had made “contacts both at the level of intelligence and foreign ministries.”

Erdogan later told reporters that he wanted these initial discussions to pave the way for talks with Sisi.

Shoukry said Sunday that “the political situation is linked to adverse positions taken by the Turkish leadership against Egypt.”

Cairo’s softening stance towards its regional rivals has also extended to Qatar, after a Saudi-led blockade over the Gulf monarchy was lifted in January.

This week, a senior Qatari delegation visited Cairo, in the latest sign of thawing relations.