Turkey's Erdogan set for first visit to Cairo since normalising ties

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Egypt's Abdel Fattah El Sisi to discuss energy, security and trade

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi are to meet this month. Reuters
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will next week embark on his first visit to Egypt since the two countries resumed diplomatic relations in 2021 after years of tension.

The official visit was confirmed by Turkey's Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on Monday.

The Turkish leader will arrive in Cairo on February 14 to discuss bilateral and regional issues with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, including trade, energy and security, Mr Fidan said.

As well as announcing the visit, Mr Fidan also said Turkey has agreed to provide Egypt with drones, the first known arms deal between Cairo and Ankara since the governments agreed in July to upgrade their diplomatic relations to ambassadorial level after two years of on-and-off talks to resume ties.

"Normalisation in our relations is important for Egypt to have certain technologies," Mr Fidan said. "We have an agreement to provide [Egypt] unmanned air vehicles and other technologies."

He did not elaborate on the deal.

The normalisation process received a major boost when Mr El Sisi met Mr Erdogan on the sidelines of the Fifa World Cup in Qatar in 2022. It was their first encounter since Mr El Sisi took office in 2014.

Relations between the two nations became tense in 2013 when Egypt’s military, at the time led by Mr El Sisi, removed the president at the time, Mohamed Morsi, who had the support of Turkey.

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

Trade between the two countries did not reflect the tension, however, growing at a steady pace to stand at nearly $10 billion in 2022. The two nations have backed rival sides in the conflict in Libya, Egypt's neighbour to the west and torn by more than a decade of civil war.

Egypt is also opposed to what it considers to be Turkey's undue influence in Syria and Iraq, and perceived attempts to muscle in on Cairo's energy plans in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Updated: February 05, 2024, 1:59 PM