Turkey, Egypt restarted diplomatic-level contacts: FM Çavuşoğlu

Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said that Turkey and Egypt have initiated diplomatic-level contacts after years-long hiatus. Turkey and Egypt, once close allies, have had a hostile relationship since the summer of 2013, following the military coup led by General Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.

Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu addresses a press meeting in this file photo.

Duvar English

Turkey and Egypt have started diplomatic-level contacts after years-long hiatus with disruption of relations in 2013, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was quoted as saying by state-run Anadolu news agency on March 12.

“We have contacts both at the level of intelligence and foreign ministries with Egypt. Diplomatic-level contacts have started,” Çavuşoğlu said.

He said that neither side put forward preconditions and ties distracted for years could not be built at once and easily.

“For this reason, negotiations take place and continue under a certain strategy, road map,” he said.

“There is no reason to not fix ties with Saudi Arabia. If they take a positive step, so would we,” Çavuşoğlu was also quoted as saying by Anadolu news agency. “The same thing applies to the United Arab Emirates as well.”

Relations between Egypt and Turkey soured in 2013 when a group of officers led by Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi overthrew President Mohammed Morsi.

Turkey has offered refuge and protection to the Muslim Brotherhood leadership and has severely condemned the new government of Egypt. In response, Egypt gave the Turkish ambassador 48 hours to leave the country.

Since then, diplomatic relations between the two countries are yet to be restored and currently exist at the level of chargé d'affaires.

Turkey plans to host Afghan peace talks in April 

Çavuşoğlu also said that Turkey is planning to host a round of Afghanistan peace talks in Istanbul in April, adding Ankara will appoint an Afghanistan special envoy.

The Turkish minister's comments come after the United States shared a draft peace plan calling for replacing Afghanistan's government with a power-sharing interim administration pending elections under a new constitution.

The U.S. proposal is intended to jump-start stalled talks in Doha between the Taliban and a team including Afghan officials on a political settlement to decades of conflict.

Çavuşoğlu said Turkey had previously been asked by Afghan officials, the Taliban and the negotiation team to host talks, and this week's decision came after a U.S. proposal for Turkey to host a meeting.

"This is not a meeting that is an alternative to the Qatar process, it is a complement to that," he said. "We will carry this out in coordination with brotherly Qatar, but it will be in Turkey."

He said the aim was for talks between the Taliban and the government to continue in a "goal-oriented" way. The exact date in April, and the content of the talks, were being discussed.

Çavuşoğlu also said Turkey had been sending messages to the Taliban and the negotiating team, calling for violence in the country to stop for talks to yield results.

The Taliban and the Afghan government have been negotiating in Qatar to reach a peace deal. Those talks resumed in January after an almost month-long break, but negotiators and diplomats say there has been little progress since then.

Russia also plans to hold a conference on Afghanistan in Moscow later this month, the TASS news agency said earlier this week.