Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan set to visit Egypt and Gulf, Cairo officials say

News follows move by Ankara and Cairo to restore full diplomatic relations

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El Sisi are expected to meet in Cairo. Reuters
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Egypt "soon", Egyptian officials have said.

News of the visit comes a day after Egypt and Turkey agreed to immediately restore full diplomatic relations and exchange ambassadors, formally bringing to an end a decade of tension between the two regional powers.

The Egyptian officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Mr Erdogan's visit to Cairo would be part of a tour that would also include the Gulf region.

A meeting between the Turkish leader and President Abdel Fattah El Sisi would be their first since November, when they met on the sidelines of the World Cup in Qatar.

The decision to upgrade diplomatic relations and exchange ambassadors was made during a phone call between Mr El Sisi and Mr Erdogan on Monday night, an Egyptian presidency press statement said.

Egyptian officials said Mr El Sisi had instructed the Foreign Ministry to select a candidate for the ambassador's job in Ankara.

Exchanging ambassadors was initially agreed last month during talks in Cairo between the foreign ministers of the two countries.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said at the time he and his Turkish counterpart were co-operating to arrange a possible meeting between the two leaders.

Relations between the two nations became tense in 2013 when Egypt’s military, at the time led by Mr El Sisi, removed Mohamed Morsi as president. The move took place amid a wave of protests against Mr Morsi’s divisive one-year rule.

He was a member of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, which Ankara has close ties to.

The two countries withdrew their respective ambassadors soon after, with accusations from Cairo that Turkey was supporting extremist Islamic groups in the region and meddling in the domestic affairs of Arab nations.

Relations have also been tense over Libya, where Egypt and Turkey have supported rival factions in the energy-rich North African nation.

Libya has been ravaged by a civil war since a Nato-backed uprising in 2011 overthrew its long-time leader Muammar Qaddafi.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu last month said Ankara and Cairo would “work more closely” on Libya. At the time, Mr Shoukry said: “We are in agreement on the creation of a government [in Libya] that would reflect the will of the people and protect its territorial integrity.”

Men drinking tea in Istanbul the day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected. Getty Images

Egypt wants Turkey to stop what it sees as interference on plans by Cairo and its allies- especially Ankara’s rivals Cyprus and Greece- to turn the Eastern Mediterranean into a regional energy hub following the discovery of vast natural gas reserves in the area.

Despite tense relations, trade has been unaffected in the past decade between the two nations. It currently stands at $10 billion a year, a figure Mr Cavusoglu expects to soon reach $15 billion.

Turkey is also among the most popular destination for Egyptian holidaymakers.

Updated: May 30, 2023, 7:45 AM