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Turkey and Egypt make diplomatic contact for first time since 2013

Turkey and Egypt make diplomatic contact for first time since 2013
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country has reestablished diplomatic contact with Egypt for the first time since the latter’s President Mohamed Morsi was ousted in the 2013 coup.

“We have contacts at both the level of intelligence and foreign ministries with Egypt. Diplomatic-level contacts have started,” Cavusoglu told Anadolu Agency and TRT in a joint interview late Thursday.

Cavusoglu said that talks were in an early phase and neither party had brought forward any preconditions. “For this reason, negotiations are taking place and continuing under a certain strategy,” he said. 

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Relations between the two states quickly deteriorated in 2013 after Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is now president, ousted Morsi from office. 

Turkey was heavily critical of the removal of the supposedly Ankara-backed Morsi, who was also affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

“No matter where they are...coups are bad. Coups are clearly enemies of democracy. Those who rely on the guns in their hands, those who rely on the power of the media cannot build democracy... Democracy can only be built at [the] ballot box,” then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in July 2013.

The two countries expelled each other’s diplomats as relations between the pair tanked.  

Cairo and Ankara have also locked horns over a number of regional issues, including the civil war in Libya, where they backed opposing sides, and maritime disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean and its potentially lucrative gas reserves. 

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Cavusoglu added on Friday that Turkey was ready to improve relations with regional rivals, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. 

“We have been seeing more positive messages lately from Abu Dhabi,” he said. “We have had no problems with them anyway, but they have had a problem with us. We are now seeing a more moderate approach from them.”

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