Are Turkey’s overtures to Egypt genuine or just posturing?


Turkish officials have made a number of public overtures to their Egyptian counterparts in recent weeks, the first serious attempt to repair ties since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power in 2013.

The world is going through a period of transition, including the United States, which has a new administration under President Joe Biden, and the Middle East, where the Saudi-led blockade on Qatar recently ended, Hanna said.

But the while these developments were factors in Ankara’s thinking, Hanna said it was not yet clear whether rapprochement with Cairo was genuine or just another example of public positioning.

Despite differences between their leaders in recent years, trade between Turkey and Egypt had continued uninterrupted, he said. 

In a comprehensive interview, Hanna touched on several issues between the countries, including tensions over access to hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean, differences over the Libyan conflict and divergent attitudes to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Last year, Egypt joined Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Jordan in forming the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) to the exclusion of Turkey. And Hanna said several voices in Cairo believe Ankara’s reconciliation attempts are motivated by wanting to fracture this new regional bloc.  

However, Egypt’s priorities from Turkey would be concessions over Libya and the Muslim Brotherhood, he said. 

Turkish military support for the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) has proven crucial to halting Egyptian-backed efforts by the Libyan National Army (LNA) to assert full control of the country.

Meanwhile, Turkey has provided a haven for members of the Muslim Brotherhood who left Egypt after al-Sisi ousted the group from government.