The Egyptians and the Turks are beginning a difficult round of negotiations after the complexity and deterioration of relations between the two countries and the cessation of “exploratory talks” for more than a year, as it seems that Ankara is trying to quickly end this urgent file in light of a confused global situation, according to what analysts confirmed to the “Al-Hurra” website.
Erdogan was a great ally of the late Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood, and had previously confirmed that he would “never dialogue” with “a person like” Sisi, who overthrew Morsi in 2013. Relations between Cairo and Ankara have cooled since Sisi came to power.
Erdogan previously commented on Morsi’s death in June 2019 in the courtroom during his trial, “History will never have mercy on the tyrants who brought him to death by putting him in prison and threatening to execute him.”
After nearly a decade of stalemate in relations between the two countries, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described his meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Qatar on Sunday as a first step taken to launch a new path between the two countries.
On the other hand, the official spokesman for the Egyptian presidency stated on his Facebook account, on Monday, that Sisi shook hands with Erdogan in Doha, “where there was mutual confirmation of the depth of the historical ties that bind the two countries and the Egyptian and Turkish peoples, and it was also agreed that this would be the beginning of the development of bilateral relations.” between the two sides.”
“interest above principles”
On Sunday, the Turkish presidency published a picture of Erdogan and Sisi shaking hands with a smile during the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar – the country that was an ally of Morsi and with which Egypt recently reconciled.
The Turkish writer and political analyst, Taha Odeh Oglu, told Al-Hurra: “The main point that the Egyptians focused on was the legitimacy of President Sisi, and now there is a Turkish recognition (of that) for some time, not starting with Sunday’s handshake in Doha,” adding that “there is Conviction among decision-makers and Erdogan’s advisors of the need to work with Egypt and turn the page on the Brotherhood, because interest takes precedence over principles.
And Ihsanoglu believes that the handshake of the two presidents greatly accelerated the steps that negotiations between officials of the two countries could have taken.
While the Turkish statements focused heavily in recent weeks on the importance of relations with Egypt, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry expressed that the talks had stalled.
“Handing over elements of the Brotherhood”
The editor-in-chief of the Egyptian government newspaper “Al-Ahram”, Ashraf El-Ashry, reveals in his interview with the “Al-Hurra” website that negotiations will begin between officials of the high security services in the coming days, in the first stage, to be followed by discussions between officials of the foreign ministries of the two countries, to discuss the rest related files.
Although Turkey’s first steps to reform its regional relations more than a year ago were towards Egypt, this path is moving slowly, and even observers were saying soon that it was “stagnating” and stuck in “exploratory talks”.
Al-Ashry said, “The Egyptians have conditions and demands, but the Turks did not implement them, and they felt that there was a Turkish deception taking place, and that all that Ankara wanted was to complete the picture by restoring relations with Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Emirates, and thus Egypt.”
Al-Ashry pointed out that “Egypt’s situation was different from these three countries, and Cairo believes that the Turks are not serious about providing benefits and answers to very important Egyptian questions related to bilateral relations and the Turkish presence in Libya and the eastern Mediterranean region.”
Davutoğlu believes that Turkey’s restoration of relations with Egypt differs from that of the UAE and Saudi Arabia. “Negotiating with Cairo and restoring relations will be one of the most difficult things. We are talking about two countries and two main pillars in the region, and files that deepen the dispute over them.”
And he says, “Yes, we will witness security meetings, and it will be the beginning of a meeting between the two foreign ministers, who in turn will arrange a summit between the two presidents, because today Turkey is primarily focused on the need to restore relations with Egypt as it was, and Erdogan spoke about that openly.”
As for the negotiations between officials of the security services, they will focus, according to Al-Ashry, on the pending cases of the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey, “the extradition of wanted persons in accordance with Egyptian judicial rulings, and a timetable and action map for ending this file, in addition to media files, which include news channels and websites.” The opposition to Egypt, which is still continuing, is broadcasting from Turkey.
He added, “The Egyptians want to end any presence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey and not use any media platforms, in addition to researching the elimination of the so-called Movement for Change affiliated with Muhammad Kamal, which is a wing of the Brotherhood that calls for the use of violence in Egypt.”
On the other hand, Davutoglu replies by saying, “We noticed that there are Egyptian demands regarding the Brotherhood’s channels and members of the group, and indeed a large number of them were arrested and the screws clamped down on them during the current month,” noting that the meeting with Sisi and Erdogan “is a very positive step, and indicates that many The files were agreed upon and their obstacles were overcome, such as the Brotherhood file.
More recently, an Egyptian journalist close to the Muslim Brotherhood was briefly detained in Turkey, raising fears among Islamists who had taken refuge in that country that they might be extradited.
Turkey had taken steps in the Brotherhood file, “but it was not enough. They closed the Mekameleen channel and left Al-Sharq,” according to Al-Ashry.
Davutoğlu attributes Turkey’s current interest in restoring relations with Egypt to “the gas and exploration file in the eastern Mediterranean, and this issue is a national security issue for Turkey, while other files, such as the Brotherhood, are subsidiary issues that can be agreed upon during the next stage.”
Negotiations between the two ministries of foreign affairs
As for the negotiations between the two ministries of foreign affairs, they will focus, according to al-Ashry, on the developments of the situation in Libya, the eastern Mediterranean region and the Turkish presence inside the Libyan lands, and reaching common denominators as well as breaks that end any kind of friction between the two sides at the political and security level in difficult moments inside the Libyan lands.
And Ankara is the great supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Cairo, which considers these “terrorists”, supports warring parties in Libya. Turkey has sent military advisers and drones to fight Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the strongman in the east of the country who is supported mainly by Egypt.
Oglu believes that “the Libyan file is a very important and difficult issue in light of the entanglement and complexity, but I think that both sides will reach a common formula and each will take into account the interests of the other party, as Egypt talks about its national security and Turkey talks about the agreements it concluded and the formation of a new elected entity, away from The conflicts we have witnessed over the past two years.
A charged atmosphere… Turkey’s move in Libya may be met with Egyptian “surprises”.
It seems that Ankara signed two memorandums of understanding with the national unity government in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, as a new nail in the path of normalizing relations between Egypt and Turkey.
And he adds: “The Turkish presence in Libya consists of advisers and officers, and the idea of withdrawal depends on holding elections and forming a new government in Libya, because what Ankara wants is to preserve its interests in Libya, and it can easily agree to the request to withdraw from Libya, provided that security tensions do not return, as happened.” In 2019, when Haftar’s forces tried to enter Tripoli by force.
“This is the most important for Turkey”
And he stresses that “the main point for Turkey during the next stage is the issue of gas and exploration in the eastern Mediterranean,” noting that Ankara praised the Egyptian position regarding the importance of observing the Turkish continental shelf in the eastern Mediterranean, “Turkey only wants there to be a fair division of wealth.” .
Al-Ashry indicated that Turkey’s request to join the Eastern Mediterranean Forum, which was established by Egypt, “will be discussed at the level of the two foreign ministers.”
He adds, “If there are guarantees that do not violate the standards of Egypt’s agreements with Cyprus and Greece, Cairo will provide answers and solutions, but if there is a disruption and it will conflict with Egypt’s obligations in the eastern Mediterranean towards Cyprus and Greece, Cairo refuses to make any concessions or may suspend negotiations on this file.” Because it needs many rounds, because there is a partnership in the fields of gas, electricity, exploration, economy and electrical interconnection, and there is a tripartite alliance that has actually existed for five years.
Al-Ashry believes that if Cairo receives clear answers quickly, normalization of relations between the two countries may occur at the beginning of next year, but he expects that the talks will continue for several months, and relations may return before the Turkish elections in the middle of next year.
Erdogan announced that he will be a candidate in the presidential elections scheduled for June 2023.
Davutoğlu believes that the negotiations will go well, and “we may see a meeting between Sisi and Erdogan early next year.”
What inspires Davutoglu’s optimism is that “there is a conviction on both sides that one country cannot exclude the other, and currently we are talking about tensions in the world, such as the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis it causes, and economic crises from which European countries suffer, let alone the countries of the East, and therefore the differences are resolved and put in place.” It is possible to move towards understandings and consensuses during the next stage.