Egypt says Turkish ‘words not enough’ to restore full ties

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Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry acknowledged Sunday that diplomatic contact had been established with Turkey but warned full ties would depend on “a real change in Turkish policy,” Agence France-Presse reported citing state media.

Ankara and Cairo had a dramatic falling out when Egyptian President Fattah al-Sisi ousted the Turkish-backed Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

The two regional powers have since sparred over a range of issues and found themselves on opposite sides of the war in Libya.

“If we find a real change in Turkish (foreign) policy aligning with those of Egypt to stabilize the region… that could lay the groundwork to normalize relations,” state newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm quoted Shoukry as saying.

His comments, the first by a senior Egyptian official on the record, came after Ankara said Friday it had established its first diplomatic contacts with Cairo in over seven years.

But “words are not enough, they must be matched by deeds,” Shoukry cautioned Sunday, addressing parliament’s foreign relations committee.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been extending olive branches to his rivals in the face of potential sanctions from the European Union and a tough new diplomatic line from US President Joe Biden.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told Turkish state media on Friday that the two countries had made “contacts both at the level of intelligence and foreign ministries.”

Erdoğan later told reporters that he wanted these initial discussions to pave the way for talks with Sisi.

Shoukry said Sunday that “the political situation is linked to adverse positions taken by the Turkish leadership against Egypt”.

Cairo’s softening stance towards its regional rivals has also extended to Qatar, after a Saudi-led blockade over the Gulf monarchy was lifted in January.

This week, a senior Qatari delegation visited Cairo, in the latest sign of a thawing relations.

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