Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry denied speculations about Russian mediation between Egypt and Turkey, stressing that the Egyptian and Turkish people have many things in common.
“Egypt hopes to overcome tensions with Turkey on bases of respect of countries’ sovereignty without interfering into each other’s domestic affairs,” Shoukry told Akhbar al-Youm newspaper on Saturday.
Shoukry’s statements come amid several denials made by Egyptian officials, while Turkish officials have reaffirmed hopes to restore normal relationship with Cairo. On the other hand, ongoing circumstances have not encouraged re-normalizing Cairo-Ankara ties amid Cairo’s accusations to Turkish regime of supporting outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, observers stressed.
Shoukry revealed that many Turkish officials had expressed the Turkish leadership’s wishes to restore good ties with the Egyptian regime, stressing that, “Egypt seeks to build relationships based on mutual respect.”
Since the ouster of the brotherhood affiliated Morsi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish statesmen have made statements criticizing the Egyptian authorities and interfering in Egypt’s domestic affairs, according to local media reports.
“Turkish and Egyptian people are closely attached to each other through mutual heritage and marriage relations,” Shoukry added.
In November, General Prosecutor Nabil Ahmed Sadeq ordered the arrest and imprisonment of 29 defendants for 15 days pending investigations by the Supreme State Security Prosecution on charges of conspiring with Turkey with the aim to harm national interests, joining terrorist organizations, conducting overseas calls without licensing, money laundering, and illegal currency trading.
Many brotherhood leaders fled to Turkey after the June 30 revolution where they have broadcasted TV shows from Turkey to criticize and falsify news about Egypt. Since December 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood has been declared a terrorist group in Egypt.
Turkey has been forcefully siding with the MB; thus mutual relations have been strained since the ouster of ex-MB affiliated President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
“The United States administration has wanted for some time to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, but has held off so far. One of the factors for the delay is Turkey’s opposition to the designation,” Tom Little, an international affairs specialist for the U.S. army, told Egypt Today.
“Turkey is a key strategic partner with the United States in the war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Turkey has threatened to withdraw this support if the United States goes ahead with designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group. This would be a serious blow to the United States in that region. Negotiations with Turkey continue to find a successful resolution and maintain their cooperation in Syria and Iraq.” Little explained. He further illustrated that the delay of such a move does not negate the U.S. commitment to the global war on terror.
Shoukry manifested that his recent visit to Istanbul aimed only at backing the Palestinian cause in reference to the American administration’s decision to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing it as Israel’s capital city.
Shoukry also revealed that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will pay a visit to Oman.
“The upcoming tripartite meeting on Libya with foreign ministers of Tunisia and Algeria has not been determined yet,” Shoukry said.
He asserted the Egyptian keenness on achieving stability and order in Libya. “After two years of signing the Skhirat Political Agreement in Morocco, there is a state of despair because the agreement could not accomplish the political agenda.”
On November 23, 2013, Egypt expelled the Turkish ambassador from Cairo and downgraded the diplomatic ties with Ankara.
Turkey is “attempting to influence public opinion against Egyptian interests, [and has] supported meetings of organizations that seek to create instability in the country,” Foreign Ministry statement said in November 2013.
Later, Ankara took counter measures following the expulsion of the Turkish ambassador from Cairo. Turkey summoned Egypt’s charge d’affaires. Ankara also declared the Egyptian ambassador, currently out of the country, persona non grata.
Early November 2013, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry condemned comments from Turkish officials about ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. The Egyptian government accused Turkey of interfering into Egypt’s domestic affairs and falsifying news, MENA reported.
On November 5, the Turkish Foreign Ministry urged Cairo to release Morsi, who has been held in detention pending trial since July 2013.