From Ankara to Cairo, the spinning messages have not been interrupted for a week or more, and it seems that they are establishing a new page in the relationship between the two parties, according to the spokesman for the Turkish presidency, Ibrahim Kalin.
A page drawing details of intelligence communication in the past months, to move now to “a stage of incomplete clarity,” especially since its sponsors are Turkish officials whose word is of great weight on the foreign policy level.
Among these officials is the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, who spoke earlier about steps for a road map regarding the bilateral relationship with Egypt, followed by the Minister of Defense, Hulusi Akar, saying a few days ago, “Turkey and Egypt have common historical and cultural values,” expressing His confidence that activating these values could be reflected in the occurrence of various developments in the coming days.
Whereas the last flirting messages were from the spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party in Turkey, Omar Celik, who said, “Without our historical partnership with Egypt, the history of the region cannot be written,” while stressing that his country has not abandoned its “political position on establishing democracy” in Egypt, in reference to Meh, that this issue is one of the main causes of the deterioration of the two countries’ relations.
On opposite sides
Ankara and Cairo have been standing on opposite sides for eight years, and their relationship is marred by several pending files. Not only is the file of maritime border demarcation in the Eastern Mediterranean, which attention is now focused on, but it withdraws to another with a stronger impact, foremost of which is the alignment of each party into opposing alliances It had a significant negative impact on the Arab and regional arenas, in the past years.
In addition to it, there are issues that formed the basis of the escalation of the relationship, which are represented in the Turkish position on the legitimacy of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and its hosting of the leaders of the Egyptian opposition, and the leaders affiliated with “Chouf”.
Therefore, when talking about restoring normal relations between the two countries, something has changed, especially in Ankara, whose spinning messages have not been interrupted in a way that raises many questions, despite the fact that no position or signal has been expressed from the Egyptian side so far.
Al-Hurra website spoke with members of the ruling Justice and Development Party in Turkey and former Turkish advisors, who confirmed that what is happening is considered a gateway to major changes in the coming stage, and from the context of their conversation it seemed that the new page did not come to open the establishment of “alliances” as far as this suggests. The move is based on “pragmatic and rational interests” on both sides.
“Peace for free”
In any understanding or process of re-normalizing relations between two opposing countries, parallel concessions must be made, which is not clear with Turkey and Egypt, whether the two sides tend to retreat back in order to push for re-normalization or to proceed with a step-by-step policy, so that there will be a restoration process. Satisfactory “for each file” stuck “files.
A member of the “Justice and Development” party in Turkey, Bekir Atagan, says that “Cairo asked Ankara to close the Brotherhood’s offices and television stations affiliated with them, but the latter and in terms of logic would not accept these concessions, in exchange for an agreement to demarcate the maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean.”
“This is the Egyptian request, but there is no Turkish request in return, knowing that there are no official offices for the Brotherhood in the country, while there are stations for them, and the other section belongs to the Egyptian opposition, meaning that they are not from the Brotherhood,” Atagan added.
“Turkey has not agreed and will not agree to this request in the future,” and Atagan indicates that the two parties will prepare “to conclude a cooperation agreement without conditions, not because Turkey requests or Egypt accepts or does not accept, but because of external pressure. It is European pressure par excellence.”
A member of the ruling party in the country explains that his country has not stipulated any conditions for the re-normalization of relations, pointing out that “Ankara wants to divide the files related to Egypt separately, whether it is commercial and economic cooperation or the security and political file. Ankara says that we understand some files, but it must be necessary to do so.” There will be different files “on them.
Atagan believes that the ambiguity of the Egyptian position on Turkish messages “needs some time, because external pressures will affect Egypt. Nevertheless, it is forced to accept.”
He continues, “The pressure is not only political. Rather, there are pressures imposed on the Egyptian government, led by the army and the intelligence services.”
The agreement of understanding between the two countries could be signed within weeks or days, and a member of the ruling party in Turkey revealed that the agreement “will be followed by similar agreements between Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the Emirates, Turkey and Israel.”
On the other hand, Dr. Abdel Moneim Saeed, a member of the Egyptian Senate, believes that the Egyptian silence towards these statements means that there are deficient issues in the conversation of Turkish officials regarding the controversial issues between the two countries that must be completed.
In previous statements to Al-Hurra, Saeed added that Egypt believes that there are some conditions that must be changed by the Turkish side with regard to the East Mediterranean and Libya files.
“Contexts established for the stage”
The current stage in which the relationship between Turkey and Egypt is going cannot be separated from several contexts, which had cast a shadow over the Arab region in the past months, foremost among which is the Gulf reconciliation in Al-Ula, leading to the heightened tension between Cairo and Ankara until it almost reached the stage of military confrontation. Late last year.
The threat of confrontation came after Ankara signed an agreement to demarcate the maritime borders with the Government of National Accord, and to intervene in Libya to help it confront Haftar’s forces backed by Egypt.
However, during the past months, the escalation between the two countries subsided, and talk of intelligence negotiations began, especially with the Turkish government’s calls for Cairo to negotiate the demarcation of the maritime borders in the eastern Mediterranean.
Egypt had announced a position opposing the Turkish-Libyan maritime border demarcation agreement, describing it as a “lack of legitimacy.”
At the same time, Turkish officials said at the end of 2020 that they had certain information that the sovereign bodies of the Egyptian state, meaning the Egyptian intelligence and Foreign Ministry, told President El-Sisi that the agreement is in the interest of Egypt, especially as it gives Egypt an area of economic exploitation greater than that offered by Greece. It has been awarded in the negotiations that have been going on between them for years, including more than ten thousand square kilometers.
‘Cautious and optimistic’
On the eighth of this March, the Turkish writer, Mehmet Agat, in an article published in the newspaper “Yeni Safak”, indicated that Ankara wants to use the paper of disagreement between Athens and Cairo as an opportunity, and is working to alleviate its problems with Egypt in order to achieve its interests in the equation of the eastern Mediterranean.
The writer, who is close to decision-making circles in Ankara, said that Turkey is looking carefully at developments in the eastern Mediterranean, pointing out that the panic in Athens does not mean that the “scoring advantage” has become in favor of Ankara in the eastern Mediterranean yet.
He added that there is a dilemma, which is that the regime of Egyptian President Al-Sisi “is linked to the positions of some countries such as the Emirates. If these countries say no, then a counter-decision cannot be taken, and therefore caution must be taken regarding issues related to the course of relations with Egypt, and optimism about recent developments.” .
On the other hand, Turkish observers see that the Egyptian silence about the Turkish messages in the past days reflects an expectation to translate these statements on the ground, and they considered that Cairo wants to transfer intelligence communication into advanced political and diplomatic communication, in which the discussion is open and includes all pending files.
Last September, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, said that “Cairo wants actions from Turkey, not words,” stressing his country’s demands for Ankara to withdraw from Iraq, Syria and Libya, and to reduce the existing tension in the eastern Mediterranean, and “stop its policies.” Expansionism that undermines the stability of the Middle East. ”
What has changed?
Professor Ahmed Oesal, director of the Orsam Center for Middle East Studies, based in Ankara, talked about the reasons why Turkey is heading to this step with Egypt at the current time, and believes that “Turkey always wants rapprochement and understanding with the countries of the region, and does not want escalation with any party.”
“There is a gap between the military regime in Egypt and democracy in Turkey, and the latter has suffered from coups, so we may see sensitivity on this issue now,” Oisal said, in statements to Al-Hurra.
“Turkey does not agree with Iran, for example, but it does understand some issues with it, and the same applies to others, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.” The Turkish professor pointed out that “Egypt and Turkey are pivotal countries in the region, and calm and cooperation at the present time benefit both parties.”
For his part, the writer close to the Turkish government, Yusef Kateboglu, considered that “relations between Turkey and Egypt are relations of mutual benefits and gains, based on mutual respect and participation for both parties, and therefore there is not necessarily that there are concessions required to restore relations to normal.”
Kateboglu expected that next week, water will return to its stream between the two parties, at least economically, and in the areas of import and export.
The Turkish writer explains: “Now is the time for alliances, and Turkey has the right to ally with whomever it wants, and therefore alliance or rapprochement with countries such as Egypt is something that is honored, especially since Egypt is not a small and easy country.”
What about the file of the Brotherhood leaders?
Among the outstanding issues between Egypt and Turkey, there is a “sensitive” issue related to the file of the Brotherhood leaderships inside Turkish territory, and Professor Ahmed Oisal pointed out that “Turkey did not encourage activity related to the Muslim Brotherhood, nor did it directly support the Egyptian opposition, but it allowed them to take refuge in its lands,” Flee oppression. “
The Turkish researcher says: “Turkey, like other European countries, has received the Egyptian opposition on its soil, while there are Golanists (from the Gulen group) who are clearly active on Egyptian soil.”
Oaisal continues: “It is possible for cooperation and understanding between the two parties in the eastern Mediterranean and Libya, far from the political fields related to the Muslim Brotherhood.”
As for the writer Yusef Kateboglu, he believes that “the issue of handing over to the Brotherhood and the Egyptian opposition in exchange for peace is unacceptable, in whole and in detail.”
He continues, “It is not possible for the opposition members to be extradited. Regarding Turkey, the Brotherhood is not a terrorist group, unlike all the organizations that are laid off in Egypt and Syria.”
Dr. Abdel Moneim Saeed, a member of the Egyptian Senate, stresses the need for Ankara to begin withdrawing Syrian mercenaries from Libya, to show its goodwill for reconciliation with Egypt. As for the file of the Brotherhood’s presence in Istanbul, Saeed said that it will be present in the negotiations between the two countries, but it will not be a major obstacle, and that progress in it is linked to progress in other files, as happened with Qatar.