Turkey wants to repair ties with Egypt, says PM Yildirim

Relations between Ankara and Cairo took a nosedive after the Egyptian military deposed Mursi in July 2013

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Turkey wants to repair its ties with Egypt, after relations soured over the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Mursi in 2013, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Saturday.

Relations between Ankara and Cairo took a nosedive after the Egyptian military deposed Mursi on July 30, 2013.

Mursi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, had been a close ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party-led (AKP) government.

Erdogan repeatedly condemned the ouster as a “coup d’etat” against Mursi, and in a show of solidarity at rallies he has often flashed the four-finger “Rabaa” hand salute -- seen as a symbol of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“We think we need to develop economic and cultural ties with Egypt as countries that use the two sides of the Mediterranean,” Yildirim told reporters at a briefing in Istanbul.

However, he sounded a note of caution that high-level relations would not be repaired overnight.

“We think we need to start from somewhere,” he said.

It is not the first time Yildirim has expressed hope for improved relations with Egypt.

In June, he said he did not want to see “permanent enmity” with countries such as Egypt and Syria.

Regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia, one of the main backers of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is keen to see the two countries reconcile as it grows increasingly close to Turkey.

After the July 15 failed putsch in Turkey by a rogue military faction aiming to oust Erdogan from power, Egypt's presidency remained mum.

However, the foreign ministry released a statement on consular efforts to help Egyptians in Turkey.

Turkey appears to be taking steps to return to its former “zero problems with neighbors” foreign policy after rapprochements with Russia and Israel in June this year.

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