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Turkey’s ‘common values’ with Egypt may bring new developments soon: Defense Minister

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Turkey’s Defense Minister said on Saturday his country shared common values with Egypt which may bring about “different developments” in the coming days.

“We have many historical and cultural values in common with Egypt. When they are put in use, we consider that there may be different developments in the coming days,” state news agency Anadolu cited Hulusi Akar as saying.

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He added that Egypt “respected” Turkey’s continental shelf limits when the Middle Eastern country made a tender on hydrocarbon exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, which he described as a “very important development.”

Ties between the two countries have been strained since Egypt’s army ousted Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Mursi, an ally of President Tayyip Erdogan, in 2013.

Cairo designates the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist organization. Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party supported Mursi’s short-lived Egyptian government. Many Brotherhood members and their supporters have fled to Turkey since the group's activities were banned in Egypt.

Ankara and Cairo have also clashed over maritime jurisdiction and offshore resources, as well as differences in Libya, where they backed opposing sides in the civil war.

Last month, Egypt announced the start of a bid round for oil and natural gas exploration and exploitation in 24 blocks, including some in the Mediterranean.

After trading insults and accusations for years, Turkey and Egypt have recently lowered the temperature of their public comments. However, Turkish officials have said there are still no political talks between the two sides, and that any contacts are solely for intelligence reasons.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday: “As the two countries with the longest coastlines in the eastern Mediterranean, if our ties and the conditions allow it, we can also negotiate a maritime demarcation deal with Egypt and sign it amongst ourselves.”

- With Reuters

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