Turkey ‘s rapprochement with Egypt remains on the back foot, although the two countries have started to take the first steps towards diplomatic cooperation. While Turkey continues to openly praise Egypt ‘s role in the region, the Arab country does not show the same enthusiasm when it comes to dealing with Turkey.
For Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the talks between Egypt and Turkey are still “at a low point”, even if Erdogan believes that “there are no obstacles to mutual understanding”.
In this regard, Erdogan complains that he does not see the same “eagerness and enthusiasm” on the part of Egypt to continue to bring positions closer, which undermines his attempts to emerge from his particular isolation to start building relations. with the countries of the region, with particular attention to the countries that are part of the MENA region. In this perspective, Turkey’s plans to get closer to Egypt also stem from Erdogan’s attempts to gain advantages in the Eastern Mediterranean, which has also brought him closer to countries such as Libya and to keep open the negotiations with Greece.
For Egypt, these statements by Erdogan are not enough to consolidate understanding for the moment. Islamism, Turkey’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the constant suspicions and allegations that Turkey is accused of employing jihadist mercenaries in wars such as the one in Syria are factors that do not convince Egypt and its president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Although Turkey and Egypt held a historic meeting in September 2021 after nearly a decade apart due to differing positions on the Muslim Brotherhood, relations remain strained.
Initially, it was Egypt that reached out to Turkey in an effort to end Islamist influence. In this sense, the open cooperation between Turkey and Egypt is a blow to the brotherhood, as Turkey has positioned itself as the main refuge of the brotherhood. However, when it comes to relations between Cairo and Ankara, Al-Sisi is cautious about reaching an agreement with Turkey because of the latter’s links with Islamists in Egypt. In this sense, Egypt has requested the extradition of 10,000 members of the Islamist organization to Turkey, which has not yet taken place.
Turkish diplomacy, also a protagonist in Ukraine
Ukraine has been at war for five months. All the while, Europe, together with the United States and the countries of the Middle East, have been engaged in a long-distance race in record time to conclude pacts that consolidate their power and influence in the various regions. .
While Europe and the United States joined forces to denounce the Russian invasion and continued to send arms and economic aid to Ukraine, other countries, such as Turkey, gradually established themselves as States which try to play a role of mediator between Russia and Ukraine in order to give the international image of a “reliable country”.
In the case of Turkey, the Ottoman country continues to play on both counts. On the one hand, she condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine from the start, but at the same time she refused to participate in the sanctions imposed on Russia by the West, even as a member of NATO.
The weight of the Black Sea, as well as Turkey’s geostrategic position and its commercial links with Moscow and kyiv, in addition to common interests with Russia in countries such as Syria, are essential for understanding Turkey’s role as a as a diplomatic agent.
With this strategy, diplomatically similar to that of other countries like China, Turkey is trying to make its way towards realizing the ambitions of its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who seeks to make Turkey a regional power, despite the internal crises it is going through. Turkey therefore wants to assert its presence without positioning itself reliably on one side or the other. This situation led Ukraine and Russia to agree to hold meetings with Turkey with the intention of finding out each other’s interests, although nothing was officially agreed.