Ruling AKP proposes Turkey-Egypt parliamentary friendship group

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has submitted a proposal to parliament for the formation of a Turkey-Egypt friendship group, Birgün newspaper reported on Monday.

The proposal, submitted to the Speaker’s Office, is an important initiative in terms of bi-lateral relations between the countries, the newspaper cited AKP Group Deputy chairman Bülent Turan as saying.

The proposal arrives as Turkey signals a thaw in relations with regional rival Egypt. Relations between Turkey and Egypt have been fractured since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power in a July 2013 military coup and launched a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

Turkey, under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, frequently condemned Sisi as a dictator and became a safe haven for Egyptian exiles opposed to the government in Cairo.

Turkey’s government last week announced it would hold meetings with Egyptian officials at the start of May as part of a planned rapprochement between the two regional rivals.

“The talks (between the sides), meetings, well-intentioned approaches, allow for all parties and all countries to re-examine the at times good and at times bad relations,’’ Turan said.

“At this point we have reached, we believe it is valuable for our country, Egypt, and our relations, to re-establish a friendship group,’’ he added.

The previous Turkey-Egypt friendship group was dissolved in the 2013 coup in Egypt led by Sisi.