Turkey is working to normalize relations with Egypt after making “progress” with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
“The process began with Egypt earlier, but it is moving at a slower pace now. For example, it began in the United Arab Emirates and spread swiftly. Bahrain is in the same boat. We conducted negotiations with Saudi Arabia as part of a process that began with them. Finally, this is part of our strategy to normalize our relations,” Cavusoglu said in an interview with the Turkish newspaper Sabah.
He said the next step in talks with Egypt can be at the level of deputy minister or minister. “We will increase our contacts. We apply the principle of not being against each other on international platforms,” Cavusoglu added.
The Turkish Foreign Minister’s comments come a few days after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Saudi Arabia last week for the first time since 2017.
Erdogan met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Ties between Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been strained after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
The Turkish president said he hoped his visit would usher in a “new era of cooperation” in all fields, including politics, military, economy and culture.
In addition to Saudi Arabia, Erdogan has also been working to mend his ties countries in the region as he faces domestic challenges at home brought on by an economy grappling with a currency crash and soaring inflation.
Turkey’s ties with Egypt have been strained since Egypt’s army ousted Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Mursi, an ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in 2013.
The two countries also clashed over maritime jurisdiction and offshore resources, as well as differences in Libya, where they backed opposing sides in the civil war.
After trading insults and accusations for years, Turkey and Egypt lowered the temperature of their public comments since last year.
As for the UAE, Erdogan visited the Gulf country in February for the first time since 2013. The visit saw countries sign a $5 billion currency swap agreement, which will boost the depleted foreign-exchange reserves of Turkey as it suffers historic economic struggles.
Erdogan and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed also signed 13 cooperation agreements covering a multitude of sectors including defense and trade.