Turkish foreign minister says new period starting in Egypt ties

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Turkey’s foreign minister said a new period was beginning in Ankara’s ties with Egypt with senior officials from the two countries set to hold talks, broadcaster NTV said on Wednesday.

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Last month Turkey said it had resumed diplomatic contacts with Egypt and wanted further cooperation after years of tension since the Egyptian army toppled a Muslim Brotherhood president close to Ankara.

A thaw in ties between the regional powers could have repercussions around the Mediterranean. They have backed rival sides in the war in Libya and sealed conflicting maritime deals with other coastal states.

“A new period is beginning,” NTV reported Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying of ties with Egypt.

Asked about possible ambassadorial appointments, Cavusoglu said: “We have not discussed (that) yet. There will be a meeting at the level of deputy ministers and diplomats. It will come onto the agenda there. A date is not clear yet.”

“After that, we will meet. The details of this will be discussed there,” he said, raising the prospect of mutual visits.

Cavusoglu and his Egyptian counterpart spoke by phone on Saturday and exchanged good wishes over the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, their first direct contact since the diplomatic push began.

Cairo has said Turkey’s actions “must show alignment with Egyptian principles” to normalize ties. Last month, Ankara asked Egyptian opposition TV channels operating in Turkey to moderate criticism of Cairo, in the first concrete step to ease tensions.

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