Egyptian-Turkish leaders seal improvement in bilateral ties with handshake

CAIRO: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for the first time on the sidelines of the inauguration of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
In what has been described as a historic moment, the two presidents shook hands with each other, with Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad standing next to them.
Although neither side has commented on the meeting, the picture showing the two presidents smiling and shaking hands prior to the opening ceremony — published on the official website of the Turkish presidency — has been widely shared.
Al-Qahera News Channel reported as urgent news that a tripartite summit was held between the leaders of Qatar, Egypt and Turkiye.
Erdogan also briefly met with other leaders, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah, for a handshake and talks, according to Turkiye’s Anadolu Agency.
Turkiye has been making efforts to warm ties with Egypt since last year.
Relations between Egypt and Turkiye became strained in 2013 with the overthrow of late President Mohammed Mursi, who was supported by Erdogan’s administration at the time. Ties were further made tense as a result of the turmoil in Libya, which borders Egypt to the west.
A dispute also arose in 2019 when Turkiye and the Libyan Government of National Accord signed a memorandum of understanding in November on sovereignty over maritime areas in the Mediterranean.
Turkiye was supporting the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity, whose legitimacy was contested by the Libyan parliament.
In October, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding for oil and gas exploration in the territorial waters of Libya by joint Turkish-Libyan companies. Egypt and Greece have rejected the MoU.
Cairo and Ankara undertook two rounds of exploratory negotiations last year, led by the deputy foreign ministers of Egypt and Turkiye, in an effort to boost ties.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stated last month that the two exploratory meetings gave “us the chance to voice our concerns over the regional conditions.”
At the same time, Shoukry said that the course of talks with Turkiye had not resumed because there had been no change in the framework of its practices.
El-Sisi was in Doha to attend the World Cup ceremony at the request of Qatar’s emir, according to the presidency’s spokesperson.

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