Will Egypt and Turkey Reconcile Following their 2-day Political Consultation?
The officials of Turkey and Egypt have come together to resolve years of animosity between the two. The political consultations that started on Wednesday and said to be spread over two days were presided by the Egyptian deputy foreign minister, Hamdi Loza, and his Turkish equivalent, Sedat Onal.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry announced the meeting in a statement.
The main contentious issue between Egypt and Turkey has been Turkey’s opposition to the 2013 military coup in Egypt. This saw the removal of Dr. Mohammad Morsi who was the democratically elected president of Egypt. Since then both countries downgraded their diplomatic relations. Both countries were also seen standing on the opposite sides when it came to for example the conflict of Libya. In a conflict where turkey has been backing the UN-supported government of national accord, Egypt has been providing support to warlord Khalifa Haftar. In addition, Khalifa Haftar on the other hand has been fighting the UN-backed government.
Seemingly, now Ankara and Cairo have come to realize that the situation today is not the same as it was back in 2013. Looking from a Turkish perspective, Ankara has been debating whether it should continue to hold its ideational position of opposing that military coup. It says that it is still in principle opposed to military coups and the removal of democratically elected governments. However, the debate here has been that should Ankara sacrifice its material interest based on this ideational position. This is especially so when some major powers who have been talking a lot about democracy and democracy promotion have been supporting dictatorships. That of course has left Ankara in a certain disadvantaged position.
In Cairo, it seems that the calculation has been that the talks have been prompted by western-backed sanctions and pressure on Turkey. Cairo has felt that it is this pressure that probably put Turkey in a position where it would have to compromise. And accept the demands from Cairo and from some other capitals.
Turkey has always shown its eagerness to ease ties with Egypt. In March this year, Turkey made the first diplomatic contact with Egypt since the 2013 conflict. Turkey had proposed the meeting to discuss further cooperation. Turkish President Erdogan had made a positive statement after the meeting in March, signifying that the meeting was diplomatic.
The two countries have also recently made statements with respect to bilateral relations. Such statements along with their efforts to discuss are suggestive of repair of the relationship that damaged almost seven years ago.
Egypt and Turkey have also made some progress on the maritime border in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey had shown an interest to reach an agreement with respect to the demarcation of the borders.