Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry praised recent steps by Turkey toward normalizing ties between the two countries.
Shoukry said in a TV interview late Saturday that the softening of criticism toward the Egyptian government by Turkey-based opposition channels was preparing the ground for normalizing relations.
"This is a positive step by Turkey, and we certainly affirm that normal relations are based on noninterference in internal affairs," said Shoukry on the channel Al-Qahira wal-Nas.
If such steps continue, they will lead to "full normalization," he added. Shoukry also hinted that contacts at different levels would continue to set the "optimal framework for relations and how to resume them."
Turkey has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to the rules of international law, diplomatic norms and the principles of good neighborliness, including noninterference in the internal affairs of any country. On the situation in Libya, Shoukry said, "The matter has many aspects, and Libya is of paramount importance to Egypt and its national security."
"We're continuing contacts (with the Turkish side) to evaluate steps to lay a good ground for the return of normal relations," he went on to say.
Last week, the Turkish foreign ministry stated that "Egypt is Turkey's biggest trade partner in Africa" and that Ankara aims to develop a common understanding with Cairo.
A Turkish delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal visited Cairo on May 5-6, at Egypt's invitation. At the end of the visit, the two countries issued a joint statement describing the exploratory round of bilateral talks between them as "frank and in-depth."
Both Cairo and Ankara have given positive signs in recent months, including statements by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, on the possibility of the two countries negotiating to demarcate their maritime borders in the Eastern Mediterranean. This was followed by praise from Egyptian Minister of Information Osama Heikal for the recent decisions and direction of the Turkish government on relations with Cairo, describing them as a "good gesture."
On May 7, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced the start of a new phase in relations with Egypt, stressing that the talks would continue, develop and expand.
Relations between Turkey and Egypt deteriorated after Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi toppled the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, in a coup after only a year in office. Ankara has maintained its position that a democratically elected president cannot be deposed by a military coup and thus, has voiced its criticism of el-Sissi and his backers, including the West and some of Ankara’s rivals in the Gulf region. The Egyptian government, on the other hand, urged Turkey not to intervene in an issue that it considers to be the country's internal affairs. The dispute led to a deadlock in bilateral relations for many years.
Recently, however, signs of a possible reconciliation have come from both countries, particularly due to the changing dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Turkey-Greece crisis over the region’s energy resources. The two countries exchanged positive signals that pointed to establishing contacts and dialogue, including the possibility of holding talks to demarcate their maritime borders in the Eastern Mediterranean. Experts point out that cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean would benefit both countries while changing the region's balance.
Turkey-Egypt relations have continued at the level of Chargé d'Affaires since 2013. During this period, brief meetings were held between the foreign ministers of the two countries on various occasions.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Embassy in Cairo and consulate in Alexandria, as well as the Egyptian Embassy in Ankara and consulate in Istanbul, have continued their activities as normal.
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