Egypt’s Sisi, Turkey’s Erdogan agree to upgrade diplomatic ties, exchange ambassadors

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Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed on “the immediate start of upgrading diplomatic relations and to exchange ambassadors,” the Egyptian presidency said on Monday.

Sisi spoke with Erdogan on the phone to congratulate him on his re-election.

Erdogan accomplished an unprecedented feat on Sunday, winning the runoff election and securing his third term as president of Turkey extending his rule into a third decade.

Ties between Egypt and Turkey have been strained since Egypt’s army, led by Sisi, ousted Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Mursi, a close ally of Erdogan, in 2013.

Cairo designates the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, while 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.

The two countries have engaged in a war of words, with tit-for-tat diplomatic actions, such as the expulsion of ambassadors and the downgrading of diplomatic relations. They have also clashed over maritime jurisdiction and offshore resources.

Additionally, the geopolitical rivalry between Turkey and Egypt has also played out in regional conflicts, such as the Libyan civil war, where the two countries have backed opposing sides.

After trading insults and accusations for years, Ankara and Cairo started softening their public rhetoric towards one another in 2021.

Turkey was on a mission; it wanted to normalize relations and rebuild ties with regional powers, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. In that vein, Ankara launched a charm offensive campaign to ease the tensions with those countries, and eventually relations began to thaw.

Sisi called Erdogan on February 7 to offer his sympathies over the victims of the earthquake and to offer support in terms of aid and assistance. That was their first diplomatic interaction after the reconciliation.

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