Turkey says started diplomatic contacts with Egypt, to host Afghanistan talks

Turkey and Egypt have started diplomatic-level contacts without any preconditions, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced.

“We have contacts both at the level of intelligence and foreign ministries with Egypt,” Çavuşoğlu said in an interview with state-run Anadolu news agency and broadcaster TRT on Friday.

Relations between Turkey and Egypt have been fractured since Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi came to power in a 2013 military coup and launched a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

Turkish President Erdoğan, who had forged close ties with the ousted Egyptian leader Mohammed Morsi, frequently condemned Sisi as a dictator and Turkey became a safe haven for Egyptian exiles opposed to the government in Cairo.

Sisi backed Turkey’s rivals Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in their blockade of Qatar in 2017 and has opposed Turkey’s claims in the eastern Mediterranean, signing a rival maritime border deal with Greece.

The two countries also support opposing sides in the Libya conflict.

“Ties distracted for years could not be built at once and easily. Having a lack of trust is also normal in such situations and may occur for both parties. For this reason, negotiations take place and continue under a certain strategy, road map,” Çavuşoğlu said.

Meanwhile, Turkey will host a senior-level meeting between the Afghan government and the Taliban, which is planned to be held in Istanbul in April in regard to signing a peace agreement, Çavuşoğlu said.

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced last week that President Joe Biden’s administration would be asking Turkey to host the Afghanistan peace talks.

“Turkey is trusted by both parties of the negotiation. Both the Taliban and the negotiation delegation, meaning the government side, had asked us to host such a meeting before,” Çavuşoğlu said.

Çavuşoğlu said the meeting will not be an alternative to the peace talks hosted by Qatar but will rather support Doha’s process.