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Turkey sees 'positive' momentum in talks to repair ties with UAE and Egypt

Turkish foreign minister says momentum is building in normalising ties with Abu Dhabi, after years of tensions with regional rival
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara could appoint an ambassador to Egypt if the meeting between the two countries goes well
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara could appoint an ambassador to Egypt if the meeting between the two countries goes well (AFP)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that there was a positive momentum during discussions to end a years-long rift with regional rivals the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Turkey has engaged in a series of diplomatic contacts with both the UAE and Egypt in recent weeks, and a delegation from Cairo arrived in Ankara on Tuesday, with Egyptian and Turkish officials engaging in a second round of dialogue.

"Our friends at the ministry are meeting [Egyptian officials]," Cavusoglu said in an interview with broadcaster NTV, as quoted by the Associated Press

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"If we decide together after the meetings, we will take the necessary mutual steps to appoint an ambassador."

The two countries have not hosted each other's ambassadors since 2013, when relations worsened following the coup by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi which toppled the democratically elected government of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Turkey refused to recognise Sisi as the country's legitimate ruler.

Ankara is holding out the possibility of striking a maritime deal with Egypt in the eastern Mediterranean, similar to the one agreed with the Tripoli government in Libya in 2019, which led to renewed tensions between Turkey and neighbouring Greece and Cyprus over energy exploration in the region.

Turkey has proposed a summit of eastern Mediterranean nations to reconcile disputes.

Thawing ties

Cavusoglu also told broadcaster NTV there were "positive steps in the normalisation process" between Ankara and Abu Dhabi, and that diplomatic ties could return under the right conditions. 

Turkey and the UAE and Egypt have supported opposing sides in regional disputes over the past several years, including most notably the conflict in Libya and the blockade of Qatar by several Arab states.

Ankara had also publicly blamed the UAE for financing the 2016 coup plotters in Turkey.

Yet in recent months, the countries have held multiple bilateral discussions to improve economic and diplomatic relations.

"There is no lasting friendship or enmity in international relations," said Cavusoglu.

Turkey's top diplomat said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with the UAE's de facto leader, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, by telephone last week.

Erdogan also held a rare meeting last month with UAE national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed al-Nahyan, during which the Turkish president said a roadmap for future Emirati investments in Turkey was drawn up.

The UAE has eased pressure on Turkish business owners and restarted flights between Istanbul, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.