Turkey offers assistance to Egypt in Suez blockage

Turkey offers assistance to Egypt in Suez Canal blockage crisis amid improving relations
2 min read
26 March, 2021
Ankara offered this gesture after the two countries restored ties earlier in March, following years of sour relations.
Turkey's Nete Hatun vessel is among the largest in the world [Facebook]
Turkey is ready to send its Nene Hatun ship to help Egypt resolve the blockage on the Suez Canal, the Turkish  Transport Minister said on Friday, amid a recent push by Ankara to repair its strained ties with Cairo after years of tensions.

"We have conveyed our offer to help our Egyptian brothers and if a positive response comes from them, our Nene Hatun ship is among the few in the world that can carry out work of this nature," Adil Karaismailoglu told broadcaster NTV, adding that Ankara was yet to receive a response but was ready to help.

The Turkish vessel is among the world’s largest ships. It was constructed locally in 2015, costing around $37 million.

The 400m container ship Ever Given blocked traffic through the Suez Canal on Tuesday, halting maritime shipping through one of the world’s largest trading routes. Over 150 ships have been delayed, including vessels transporting $400 billion worth of oil, threatening global supply chains.

Earlier this month, Turkey said it had resumed contacts with Egypt.

Ties have been frosty since 2013, when a military coup toppled Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammad Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who was supported by Turkey.

Since then, Turkey has hosted exiled members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, who Cairo considers a terrorist organisation.

The two countries have also been on opposite sides of the war in Libya.

Though contact has resumed between the two countries, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has warned that full ties would depend on "a real change in Turkish policy.”

"If we find a real change in Turkish [foreign] policy aligning with those of Egypt to stabilise the region... that could lay the groundwork to normalise relations," state newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm quoted Shoukry as saying.

Last week, Turkey reportedly urged Egypt's Istanbul-based opposition media to "tone down" criticism of President Abdelfattah Al-Sisi. Istanbul has in recent years turned into a major centre of Arab media opposed to their governments back home.

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