Turkey remains undecided about normalising ties with Egypt

Turkey remains undecided about normalising ties with Egypt
2 min read
12 July, 2016
Turkey has said it has yet moved to normalise relations with the Egyptian regime, but has expressed a willingness to mend ties with Cairo after three years' of tensions.
Relations between Cairo and Ankara soured after Egypt's 2013 coup [Anadolu]

Turkey has not taken any steps to normalise relations with Egypt Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Monday, but has opened up the possibility of tied being mended. 

"The peoples of Turkey and Egypt are brothers... the governments of the Republic of Turkey have suspended ties with Egypt because they are against military coups," he said.

"We of course [we] want to normalise our relations with Egypt but it's perhaps a must for the [military] coup regime that shelved democracy and chucked it out to examine its actions."

The statement was made at a regular news conference in Ankara, and is seen as part of Turkey's broader effort to ease strained relations with regional powers.

Last month, Turkey announced the restoration of diplomatic ties with Israel, ending a six-year standoff after Israeli soldiers attacked an aid flotilla headed for Gaza, killing ten Turkish citizens.

In June, Ankara began its detente with Russia, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issuing a personal apology to President Vladimir Putin for the downing of a Russian war plane which crossed into Turkish air space in 2015.

Ties between Ankara and Cairo became strained in 2013, after Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammad Morsi - an ally of Turkey's ruling Islamist party - was ousted in a military coup.

The spat resulted in the expulsion of each others ambassadors, with the Turkish envoy having been accused of harbouring Muslim Brotherhood members.

Kurtulmus' relatively conciliatory tone contrasted with that of President Erdogan, who said on Tuesday that an easing of tensions with Egypt's "oppressive regime" should not be expected in the near future.

"The context with Egypt is different from the approaches undertaken with Russia and Israel," the Turkish president was quoted by Dogan news agency as saying.

Erdogan also stressed that the stand-off was with Egypt's regime and not its people, who he condemned for its treatment of political prisoners.

"Sentences handed down to Morsi and his friends have been based on fabrications," he said. "These people are our brothers we cannot accept these decisions by an oppressive regime."

In the past, Erdogan has strongly condemned the military coup that removed Morsi from power, and has often used the four-finger "Rabaa" symbol as a sign of solidarity with the Egypt's banned Muslim Brotherhood group.