Turkey and Egypt: Will They Push Forward the Normalization Process?

Al-Sammani Awadallah – Khartoum

A reconciled address was aired by the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, in which he announced that Ankara doesn’t see any reason to prevent the improvement of relations with Saudi Arabia, adding that Turkey is ready to respond to any positive steps from Riyadh, and also the United Arab Emirates.

He didn’t neglect the relations between Turkey and Egypt, considering that the two countries have no objection in establishing cordial relations between Ankara and Cairo following the severing of relations between Turkey and most of the countries in the Arab region, a matter that had its reflection on the relations between Ankara and Khartoum.

Mevlut Cavusoglu pointed out that the relations of his country with each of Saudi Arabia and Qatar have entered a new stage following the recent Gulf reconciliation, considering that that reconciliation can contribute in improving the relations with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, pointing out that the stances of UAE towards Turkey is more moderate nowadays.

Last November, Mevlut Cavusoglu held a cordial meeting with his Saudi counterpart, Faisal Bin Farhan, in Niger, during which it was agreed to continue the negotiations and correspondents every now and then.

He affirmed the readiness of his country to have a positive reaction towards any positive steps from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, affirming that Turkey doesn’t want to enter into combat with any country.

Last February, Egypt announced a new oil-and-gas exploration bid round in the Eastern Mediterranean. It notably took into consideration the coordinates of the continental shelf as declared by Ankara, according to the 2019 agreement between Turkey and Libya, registered by the UN last October.

Ankara thus understood the Egyptian move as a positive message. 

Melvut Cavusoglu/Source Unknown

Egypt and Turkey in Context

This was not the first message of its kind. Despite criticizing the Turkey-Libya maritime agreement, Egypt’s foreign ministry raised eyebrows during the Rome conference in December 2019 by asserting that it “doesn’t harm Egypt’s interests” in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

This in turn opened the door wide for it to enter into an agreement with Cairo, considering that Turkey and Egypt have the longest shores Eastern of the Mediterranean, and accordingly the two countries can negotiate in the future on demarcation of the maritime borders.

This development in Eastern of the Mediterranean has its significant importance following the discovery of important energy resources in the area a matter that increases its geopolitical importance.

It is not exaggerating if we say that this development is crucial to prove the accurate Turkish thesis in the Mediterranean region and the impossibility of implementing any agendas in the area without recognizing the Turkish interests and rights.

When Egypt signed a maritime delimitation agreement with Greece in August 2020, experts noted that the agreement took into consideration Turkey’s reservations on the maritime borders of the islands.

According to Turkey’s foreign minister, the agreement supported the Turkish thesis that the islands do not have sovereign continental shelves.

According to experts, the Egyptian positive steps are but an important opportunity towards normalizing the relations of Turkey with other countries in the region.

The new developments will have its positive impact in creating conducive conditions to serve the interests of each of Turkey and Egypt, as it will be possible to sing agreements between the two countries and Israel to transmit the current energy resources to Europe in the future through Turkey, considering it is the shortest of safest route.

On the other hand, we can say that such an approach will create a confidence atmosphere between Turkey and Egypt, and an opportunity to normalize the relations between the two countries who dominate the longest shores in Eastern Mediterranean.

But the Greece media outlets believe that the Egyptian move could not considered as a decisive factor in reforming the Egyptian/Turkish relations; but at the same time it is a rational step, considering that Turkey left the door open for future negotiations,  which might lead to normalization of the relations between the two countries.

The carefully crafted messages between the two countries respond not only to their common interests, but also to changing international and regional dynamics.

Most importantly, any future agreement between Ankara and Cairo will allow Egypt to recover the areas it lost in the maritime borders agreement with Greece, and enter into an actual maritime borders agreement with Turkey according to international law and based on real and legitimate principles, hence leading to the decline of tensions in the region.

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