Egyptian FM to visit Turkey on Thursday as ties thaw: official spokesman
Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry is set to visit Turkey's capital Ankara on Thursday where he is expected to meet his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu as part of rapprochement efforts between the two countries after a decade-long rift.
The two top diplomats will continue discussing means of normalising ties in different fields and the talks they had already started during Çavuşoğlu's visit to Cairo last month, Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Ambassador Ahmed Abu Zeid said in an official statement released on Wednesday.
The split between Egypt and Turkey began in 2013 when the then-defence minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi overthrew the late Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically elected president and a Muslim Brotherhood senior member, supported by the Turkish government led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Since then, Turkey is known to have harboured thousands of Egyptian dissidents, including Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters, with many allowed to work for TV channels based there targeting Egyptian audiences and criticising Sisi's regime.
The Muslim Brotherhood has been legally designated a "terrorist organisation" in Egypt since 2014.
In November last year, bilateral ties seemed to have developed after Egyptian president Sisi met with his Turkish counterpart Erdogan on the sidelines of the World Cup held in Qatar, appearing in a photo shaking hands.
Three months later, Shoukry visited Turkey to show solidarity with the quake-hit country, the first high-level visit by a top Egyptian diplomat since bilateral relations began to improve after years of tension.
"Egypt has been undergoing a severe economic crisis for almost two years now, which makes Sisi eager to win any allies at such a difficult stage. At the same time, Turkey has always had strategic trade partnerships with Egypt even during the rift. I believe Sisi is playing it smart this time," a political analyst, who preferred to remain anonymous, told The New Arab.
"On the other hand, cooperation with Turkey is of paramount importance as to the security file when it comes to neighbouring Libya. The two states have been at odds in recent years over Libya, where each supported opposing factions in an unresolved conflict," the analyst added.