Cairo welcomes Turkey's decision to curb criticism of Sisi government

Egypt has welcomed Turkey's move to halt criticism of President Abdel Fattah Sisi and his government by opposition TV networks based in the country, Egyptian Minister of State for Information said.

The order by Turkish authorities to pro-Muslim Brotherhood channels broadcasting in Arabic from Istanbul to halt the attacks “could create an encouraging climate for dialogue between the two countries to resolve years of outstanding problems,” Osama Heikal told BBC in Cairo over the weekend.

Saudi news outlet Al Arabiya earlier this month said that three Egyptian opposition networks based in Istanbul - El Sharq TV, Watan TV, Mekameleen - were threatened with fines for non-compliance following an order from Turkish authorities to stop criticising Cairo.

The report arrived as Turkey has announced willingness for rapprochementwith Egypt following almost a decade of tensions.

The two countries have become estranged since a military coup in Egypt in 2013 brought President Abdel Fattah Sisi to power and he began 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.

Heikal said he expected the Egyptian media to follow suit in toning down attacks on Turkey as a prelude to possible negotiations between the countries.

Leading the way in tensions between the two sides is theTurkish government’s affinity for the Muslim Brotherhood. But the countries also remain at loggerheads over regional issues such as the Libyan conflict, where Ankara and Cairo have backed opposite sides.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu earlier this month said a deal could be reached with Cairo over disputed maritime borders in the eastern Mediterranean, another long-standing dispute between the two sides.