Diplomatic thaw between Turkey and Egypt expected to boost trade

Published date02 June 2023
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
For more stories from The Media Line go to themedialine.org

Sisi said that he and Erdoğan had agreed to "the immediate start of upgrading diplomatic relations, exchanging ambassadors," the Reuters news agency reported.

The two leaders grabbed attention after they shook hands at the soccer World Cup last year in Qatar, one of Turkey's closest allies.

Monday's announcement was seen as a major step in the rapprochement between the two countries, which have been in dispute for years over various issues, including their support for opposing sides in Libya, as well as Turkey's support for the Muslim Brotherhood, an enemy of Sisi's.

Özgür Ünlühisarcıklı, the German Marshall Fund's Ankara office director, told The Media Line that Sisi's announcement would be seen as a significant move.

"Sending ambassadors first upgrades the relationship and also is a symbol that the relationship is normalizing," Ünlühisarcıklı said.

He said Saudi Arabia was using its financial assistance to both countries to push them to reconcile.

"Saudi Arabia is using its leverage over both countries to help them normalize their relationship," Ünlühisarcıklı said.

He said Erdoğan's top priority after the election is to improve the country's economy, which is in dire straits, with inflation in April officially at 44 percent, and a rapprochement with Egypt would appease Saudi Arabia and increase trade.

One point of tension between the two countries was the East Mediterranean gas forum, a group of countries, including Egypt, that were cooperating to bring gas from the Middle East through the Mediterranean Sea to European markets.

Many of Turkey's rivals are in the group, which analysts said made Turkey feel boxed in.

In response, Turkey made a deal with Libya, on the southern side of the Mediterranean, claiming that the two countries had territorial rights across the sea, which led to concerns that there could be a confrontation over accessing the waters.

Differing opinions on the rapproachment

Ünlühisarcıklı said that the Turkish-Egyptian rapprochement might be a disappointment to Greece, one of Turkey's long-time foes because it would lose its competitive advantage as Turkey became less isolated in the region.

But the United States, one of Turkey's...

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