ANKARA (AA) – Ankara and Cairo have agreed to maximize the diplomatic relations that were stalled after the 2013 military coup in Egypt, according to Türkiye’s foreign minister.
“We agreed to maximize our diplomatic relations. We have evaluated what steps we will take in the next process. I invited him (Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry) to Ankara. I said that I wanted to host him, especially during the month of Ramadan,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters.
Cavusoglu’s remarks came after he met with Shoukry in the capital Cairo on Saturday, where the two ministers discussed bilateral relations and regional and international issues.
Diplomatic relations between Türkiye and Egypt have been at the level of charges d’affaires on both sides since Egypt’s 2013 military coup which overthrew the late President Mohammed Morsi.
Cavusoglu is the first foreign minister to visit Egypt from Türkiye in 11 years.
About the appointment of ambassadors, Cavusoglu said it was previously planned that if Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi got together, they would announce it.
“We were expecting the highest level of the announcement. If the (presidents’) meeting is delayed after the election (in Türkiye), we will consult again. We will decide on this soon. But we have already announced at the news conference that we have started this process,” he added.
After the Feb. 6 quakes in Türkiye, Shoukry visited the quake-hit Adana and Mersin provinces, and his visit to Türkiye was the first by an Egyptian foreign minister in more than a decade.
Noting that the Egyptian side wants Turkish companies to increase their investments in Egypt, Cavusoglu said the bilateral trade volume is currently close to $10 billion.
On liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports, the Turkish minister said the balance is in Egypt’s favor which Türkiye does not complain about.
“We want to make a long-term LNG agreement. Because, thanks to our LNG terminals, we are currently exporting gas to southeast European countries and Balkan countries. Therefore, Egyptian gas can be exported to third countries via Türkiye,” he said.
About the dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over an Ethiopian dam that could curtail Egypt’s share of the Nile River’s waters, Türkiye suggested it could play a mediator role as it has good ties with both Ethiopia and Sudan, according to Cavusoglu.
“We discussed Libya in a little more detail. We agree that we are not rivals in Libya and that we should work together for the stability of Libya. We will intensify our consultations on this issue as well,” he noted.
On Türkiye’s delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas deal with Libya signed on Nov. 27, 2019, Cavusoglu stressed that it is not an agreement “against Egypt.”
Likewise, “Egypt’s agreement with Greece is not against us (Türkiye) either,” he said, and added that Egypt “respected the borders of our continental shelf even when relations were cold.”