Turkey and Egypt end decade-long rift by appointing ambassadors

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Egypt and Turkey have restored full diplomatic ties by appointing ambassadors to each other’s missions in Ankara and Cairo, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Tuesday.

The move marks the end of a decade-long rift between the two regional powers that began in 2013 over political differences.

The joint statement said that the decision “aims to reestablish normal relations between the two countries, and reflects their joint determination to work on strengthening their bilateral ties, for the interest of the Egyptian and Turkish peoples.”.

Amr Elhamamy will become Egypt’s ambassador in Ankara, while Turkey nominated Salih Mutlu Sen to become its ambassador in Cairo. Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said that the relations will “continue to improve rapidly in political, economic and all other fields” and expressed his gratitude to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi for his “constructive role” in the reconciliation process.

The diplomatic relationship severely deteriorated in July 2013 when then army general Sissi led the military ouster of elected, Islamist president Mohammed Morsi following mass protests against his divisive one-year rule. Turkey had supported Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood group, which Cairo classifies as a terrorist group. Egypt then expelled the Turkish ambassador and downgraded diplomatic ties to the level of charge d’affaires.

The two countries also supported rival sides in Libya, which neighbors Egypt to the west. A 2020 Turkish deployment of mercenary fighters to Libya to fight along the Tripoli-based government brought both countries to the brink of a proxy war.

But the tension thawed in 2021, and talks to mend relations were restarted. Egypt in the same year mended ties with Qatar, another country which had supported Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood. Meeting in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Sissi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were seen shaking hands, a sign of nearing resolution.

The restoration of ties is seen as a positive step for regional stability and cooperation, especially on issues such as Libya, Syria, Iraq and the Eastern Mediterranean.

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