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Politics

Turkey Aims to Improve Ties with Egypt, UAE

September 7, 2021

ISTANBUL — Turkey continued on Tuesday to reach out to regional rivals Egypt and the United Arab Emirates in a renewed bid to mend frayed ties that have stoked regional tensions.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country was taking "positive steps" to improve relations as Turkish and Egyptian officials were holding a second round of talks in Ankara.

"Our friends at the ministry are meeting (Egyptian officials)," he said in an interview with broadcaster NTV. "If we decide together after the meetings, we will take the necessary mutual steps to appoint an ambassador."

Egypt and Turkey have not shared ambassadors since 2013, when relations worsened following the ousting of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi by military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, now the country's president.

Turkey has been at loggerheads with Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia over a number of issues, most recently the conflict in Libya, where Ankara backed the UN-recognized administration in Tripoli while its Arab rivals supported an opposing faction.

"There is no lasting friendship or enmity in international relations," said Cavusoglu.

The minister held out the possibility of striking a maritime deal with Egypt in the eastern Mediterranean, similar to the one struck with the Tripoli government in late 2019. That deal led to renewed tensions between Turkey and neighboring Greece and Cyprus over energy exploration in the region.

Cavusoglu proposed a summit of eastern Mediterranean nations to reconcile disputes.

On relations with the UAE, Turkey's top diplomat said there were "positive steps in the normalization process." Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with the UAE's de facto leader, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, by telephone last week.

Cavusoglu also reiterated Turkey's wish to resolve its dispute with the U.S. over its purchase of a Russian air defense system.

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