Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan chose to talk about the improvement of his country’s relationship with Egypt during his speech on Tuesday, September 19, during the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
While Erdogan acknowledged the tensions in relations between Ankara and Cairo at some point, he emphasized serious work to deepen them, describing the current stage that the relationship between Turkey and Egypt is going through as constantly growing thanks to the support of common interests between the two countries.
Relations between Egypt and Turkey went through extreme tensions as a result of disagreements over many issues in the region, starting with Ankara’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which is classified as a terrorist group in Egypt, and moving on to Turkish interference in Libyan affairs, then the Syrian war and the rumors of Ankara’s involvement in helping extremists in Syria.
With the convergence of views witnessed in the region on more than one issue, there were signs of rapprochement between Cairo and Ankara that ended with a meeting between Erdogan and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Sunday, September 10, on the sidelines of the G20 summit that was held in the Indian capital, New Delhi, in a meeting that observers considered “a step towards improving relations.”
Beginning of convergence
The actual rapprochement between Egypt and Turkey began from the moment the presidents of the two countries shook hands on November 20, 2022, during the opening of the FIFA World Cup tournament held in Qatar, while the two countries agreed in May 2022 to exchange ambassadors, which came after the process of withdrawing the ambassadors as an objection from Cairo to Turkey’s policies supporting the Brotherhood.
In the context of rapprochement, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visited Turkey following the devastating earthquake that occurred in February, and in this momentum, both Cairo and Ankara announced the exchange of ambassadors in July 2023, confirming the continuation of the improvement in relations that began a year ago.
In this context, Maysa Khalil Hassan, a political philosophy researcher, concluded in her study entitled “Egyptian-Turkish Relations 2014-2023: Determinants and Dimensions” that it is unlikely that Turkey and Egypt will be able to address their differences at a rapid pace and improve relations to the extent they had been in the past, despite both parties realizing that serious cooperation is in their interest.
Hassan added that it is normal for relations between Egypt and Turkey to go through intersecting paths at times and parallel paths at other times, which is known as the “cautious scenario,” suggesting that time, circumstances, and the internal and external situations of Egypt and Turkey will control the nature of the interactions of those paths and their repercussions on the improvement of relations between the two countries.