Turkey and Egypt are making progress toward the normalization of ties, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said.
"The issue (of normalizing relations) has not yet reached the next step but there is some progress that we hope we will build on," Shoukry said in an interview with the local MBC Egypt channel late Friday.
Ankara and Cairo have recently exchanged positive signals in an attempt to restore relations after more than seven years of political estrangement.
Shoukry said further progress will depend on the extent both countries adhere to "the rules that govern bilateral relations, the commitment of each party not to interfere in the internal affairs of the other, the principle of respect and recognition of state sovereignty, and within the framework of reviewing the policies adopted at the regional level."
"We will open the door for further progress in our relations with Turkey when we are satisfied with the solutions presented to the outstanding issues between us," he said, without giving further details.
On Sept. 8, diplomats from both countries held the second round of exploratory talks in Ankara as part of efforts to normalize relations between Turkey and Egypt.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the two sides "agreed to continue these consultations, confirming their desire to make progress in areas under discussion and the need for further steps to facilitate normalization of their relations."
In May, a delegation of senior Turkish officials traveled to Egypt for an official visit – the first since 2013 – to discuss normalizing diplomatic relations amid efforts by the two countries to improve bilateral ties that deteriorated following the Arab Spring.
The first round of exploratory talks was held in Cairo in May upon an invitation from Egypt. A joint statement described the talks as "frank and in-depth."
Earlier this year, Turkey said it had resumed diplomatic contact with Egypt and wanted to improve cooperation after years of tensions that began with the disruption of relations in 2013.
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 el-Sissi, now the country’s president.
Since 2013, ties between Turkey and Egypt have been carried out at the lower level of charge d'affaires. During this period, brief meetings were also held on various occasions between the two countries' foreign ministries.
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 normal operations.
Ankara 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 Greek Cyprus over energy exploration in the region.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu recently said that negotiations may start regarding maritime zones in the Eastern Mediterranean if the Egyptian side wants. "They (Egypt) will make more gains if they make an agreement with us."
Experts say that several developments including the change of administration in the United States, natural gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean as well as new alliances in the Middle East, have caused increasing diplomacy between Ankara and Cairo.
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