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Egypt, Turkey appoint ambassadors for first time in decade

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Egypt and Turkey said Tuesday they had appointed ambassadors to each others’ countries for the first time in a decade, in the latest sign of warming ties, Agence France-Presse reported.

Cairo and Ankara both issued statements announcing “the upgrading of diplomatic relations between them to the level of ambassadors.”

The two foreign ministries said the move “aims at the re-normalization of relations between the two countries and reflects the mutual will to develop bilateral relations.”

The appointments mark a rapprochement between Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his Turkish veteran counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Relations were severed a decade ago when Sisi, then Egypt’s defense minister, ousted the Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, an ally of Turkey and part of the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

At the time, Erdoğan said he would never speak to “anyone” like Sisi, who in 2014 became president of the Arab world’s most populous nation.

The first signs of a thaw came in May 2021 when a Turkish delegation visited Egypt to discuss a possible normalization.

Last November, Erdoğan and Sisi shook hands in Qatar in what the Egyptian presidency heralded as a new beginning in their relations.

The two leaders then spoke by telephone after a devastating earthquake hit Turkey and Syria in February.

While relations were long frosty, trade continued. In 2022, Turkey was the largest importer of Egyptian goods, totaling $4 billion.

Disagreements remain as Turkey is home to many Arab journalists critical of their governments, in particular Egyptians close to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been outlawed by Cairo.

Cairo and Ankara also back opposite sides in conflict-torn Libya where two rival administrations vie for power.

Turkey has sent military support to the internationally supported government in Tripoli, while Egypt has backed a military strongman based in the country’s east, Khalifa Haftar.

Egypt on Tuesday named Amr Elhamamy as its new ambassador in Ankara, while Turkey named Salih Mutlu Şen as its ambassador in Cairo.

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