Turkey offers to help Egypt with Suez Canal ship

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Turkey on Friday offered to send a search and rescue (SAR) vessel to help Egypt free a giant ship blocking the Suez Canal, as it pressed on with its bid to repair ties with regional rivals, Agence France-Presse reported.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu said the Nene Hatun was “one of the few [vessels] in the world capable of carrying out an operation of this magnitude.”

The Nene Hatun Ship

“We offered to help them, and if they respond favorably, we will send help,” the Anadolu state news agency quoted Karaismailoğlu as saying.

Tugboats and dredgers were working on Friday to refloat the massive container ship, although salvage experts warn that the shutdown of one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes could last days or even weeks.

Turkey’s offer comes as Ankara seeks to normalize relations with Cairo, which broke off following the 2013 overthrow of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was strongly backed by Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Ankara this month said it had established diplomatic contacts with Egypt for the first time since Morsi’s ouster, although officials in Cairo say they are still waiting for “real change” in Turkey’s policies before fully normalizing relations.

The two countries’ disputes include the nearly decade-long war in Libya, which is now winding down and where they backed opposing sides.

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