Turkey’s top diplomat visits Cairo in effort to mend ties


CAIRO — Turkey’s top diplomat was in Cairo on Saturday for talks with Egyptian officials as the regional powers seek to mend their fractured ties after years of tension.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu arrived in the Egyptian capital on Saturday morning. He was the highest-ranking Turkish official to visit the Arab world’s most populous country in more than a decade.

Egypt and Turkey have been wracked by mass protests since the Egyptian military overthrew Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in 2013 against his year-long divisive rule. Morsi belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood group, which is supported by Turkey. Egypt has declared the group a terrorist organization.

Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said on Saturday that Cavusoglu met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri to discuss “various aspects” of bilateral relations.

He said they also discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest, with clear reference to the conflict in Libya and tensions over gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

Abu Zeid said on Friday that the purpose of the meetings was to initiate a “deep dialogue” to reach a “common understanding to achieve the interests of both countries”. A joint news conference was scheduled for later on Saturday.

Egypt and Turkey have been backing opposing sides in the Libyan conflict, which led to a direct confrontation between the two US allies at the height of eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar’s 2020 assault on the Libyan capital, which Egypt Support is available.

Egypt, Greece and some other European countries were also upset by a 2019 deal between Turkey and Libya that sought to boost Turkey’s maritime rights and influence in the eastern Mediterranean.

Former Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was the last high-ranking official to visit Cairo in 2012, when he attended a Syrian opposition conference organized by the Arab League.

Turkey has abandoned its critical attitude towards Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government in recent years, as it has sought to mend relations.

In November, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and al-Sisi were photographed shaking hands during the World Cup in Qatar. And last month, Shukri visited earthquake-hit Turkey and Syria to show solidarity with both countries.

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