Turkey’s Erdogan Rebuilds Egypt Ties With Landmark Cairo Visit

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

(Bloomberg) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made his first visit to Egypt in more than a decade, as the two Middle Eastern powers looked past years of acrimony and pledged to work together on economic and security issues.

Most Read from Bloomberg

Erdogan met his Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo on Wednesday for talks they said focused on the need for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and the entry of more humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinian territory. They also discussed greater cooperation in the energy-rich eastern Mediterranean and war-torn Libya.

The visit means “together we can open a new page between our countries” and set relations “on their right track,” El-Sisi said in televised comments, flanked by Erdogan. The two signed a joint declaration to formally resume cooperation in fields ranging from diplomacy to banking, energy, tourism and defense.

The thaw is part of Turkey’s broader efforts to normalize relations across the Middle East and seek investment from the likes of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Egypt and Turkey had been at odds for much of the past decade, following the 2013 military-backed overthrow of El-Sisi’s predecessor, Mohammed Mursi, an Islamist favored by Ankara.

Egypt is Turkey’s “first” trade partner in Africa and the two nations plan to increase volumes to $15 billion in a few years, El-Sisi said. He added that Erdogan had invited him to visit Turkey in April to continue rebuilding ties.

Erdogan, who has championed Islamist causes including Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, was an outspoken critic of El-Sisi long after Mursi’s ouster. Turkey and Egypt had also backed rival sides in regional conflicts, including a battle for the capital of Libya that ended with a 2020 cease-fire.

“These two nations staying upset at another is a historical anomaly,” Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said earlier this month. The countries have an agreement for Ankara to supply drones to Cairo, he added.

--With assistance from Tarek El-Tablawy and Sherif Tarek.

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.