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Published On: Sat, Dec 27th, 2014

Turkey sends tentative Signals about normalizing Ties to Egypt and Syria

nsnbc : Ankara sent a tentative signal for a possible normalization of Turkish – Egyptian, and possibly Turkish – Syrian ties. Relations between Turkey and Egypt have been stressed since the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Ankara accused the government of Egypt of a coup d’ état while Cairo accused Ankara of interference into domestic affairs, as well as of supporting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and violence in Egypt. 

During his weekly press conference the Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanji Bilgiς said that a normalization of Turkish – Egyptian ties would be possible if the will of the Egyptian people could be heard in politics and society. The remark was a reference to the upcoming parliamentary elections in Egypt.

Photo, courtesy of Aydinlik Daily.

Image: Courtesy of Aydinlik Daily.

Reporters asked Bilgiς about the possible normalization of Turkey’s ties to Egypt in response to a statement by Turkey’s Vice Prime Minister Bülen Arinς, who said that it could be possible to achieve a normalization of relations to a number of countries, including Syria and Egypt.

In November 2013 the spokesman of Egypt’s interim government’s foreign ministry, Ambassador Bard Abdel-Atty, read out a statement saying that Egypt had downgraded its relations to Turkey to the level of Chargé d’Affairs and asked Turkey’s Ambassador to Egypt to leave the country. Abdel Atty added that the Egyptian interim government had summoned Turkey’s Ambassador and declared that the government considers him as persona non grata.

Hakan Fidan and Turkey's MIT reportedly behind Rabia TV and subversion in Egypt.

Hakan Fidan and Turkey’s MIT reportedly behind Rabia TV and subversion in Egypt.

Relations worsened in December 2013 when media quoted the leader of Egypt’s Salafist Asala (Authenticity) Party, Ehab Shiha, as saying that Turkey will host the Egyptian, Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood linked Rabia TV channel with Turkish State support, and that the TV channel soon would be ready to begin broadcasting.

Both Turkish, Egyptian and other experts on regional intelligence noted that the TV Channel had been established with the support of Turkey’s National Security Agency (MIT), under the supervision of Turkey’s Undersecretary of Intelligence Hakan Fidan.

Coinciding with the broadcasting of pro-Muslim Brotherhood news and reports from Turkey was a marked increase in armed attacks against Egyptian police and military personnel and terrorist attacks against State institutions.

By December 2014, Egypt would face a sustained campaign by Islamist brigades by the ISIS linked Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) , primarily in the North Sinai province, and increased transgressions by Libyan Islamist brigades along the northern part of the Egyptian – Libyan border.

Both ISIS and ABM have been implicated in direct and indirect links to core NATO member States, including the USA and Turkey, as well as to State and non-State actors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Pakistan; among others.

El-Biblawi_Egypt_Dec 2013

Dr. Hazem El-Biblawi.

Responding to the information about Turkey’s support of Muslim Brotherhood TV in December 2013 and the growing insurgency, Egypt’s then interim Prime Minister Dr. Hazem el-Biblawi announced that the government is prepared to confront schemes by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), adding that the government will use its force and full wisdom in confronting these schemes, reported Egypt’s State Information Service.

El-Biblawi added, that Egypt is facing a psychological war. The Egyptian interim Prime Minister announced the commencement of a diplomatic embargo against the AKP – led government of Turkey’s then Prime Minister R. Tayyip Erdogan and added, that the embargo will be maintained until the AKP stops interfering into Egypt’s internal affairs.

Egypt's Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdel Atty. Photo, courtesy of Youm7.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdel Atty. Photo, courtesy of Youm7.

Turkish – Egyptian ties became stressed again in September 2014, when Ankara’s AKP government offered exiled Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders who risked being expelled from Qatar asylum in Turkey.

Egypt has, partially in a concerted effort with Russia, taken the initiative to lobby Gulf Cooperation Council member States to stop supporting Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan).

The administration of Egypt’s President Al-Sisi succeeded at using the political dynamics and disagreements between Saudi Arabia and Qatar to assert a more anti-Muslim Brotherhood trend among GCC member States.

Virtually identical CANVAS / DEMOZ flyers distributed in Egypt and Ukraine.

Virtually identical CANVAS / DEMOZ flyers distributed in Egypt and Ukraine.

One spin-off of these diplomatic efforts is that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has added an organization like CANVAS, which is known for being a bit in the U.S. State Department’s “regime change toolkit” to the UAE’s list over terrorist organizations.

While the GCC member States, at least officially, began to increasingly distance themselves from the Muslim Brotherhood and Brotherhood-linked organizations, Turkey became increasingly isolated in the region due to the AKP government’s pro-Brotherhood policy.

Turkey’s governing AKP itself has its roots in the International and the Turkish branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. In September 2014, the Egyptian administration of President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi accepted Turkish calls for holding a bilateral meeting.

Samar Samir at The Cairo Post, would report that Egypt has accepted a Turkish offer to conduct a bilateral meeting in New York, on the sidelines of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in an attempt to heal the strained bilateral relations.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdel Atty was quoted as saying that “Egypt has accepted the invitation to review the bilateral relations course between both sides and to discuss regional issues”. Abdel Atty added that this review would take place on a ministerial level.

Several analysts noted that the statement by Turkey’s Vice Prime Minister Bülen Arinς, that Turkey possibly could review a normalization of ties to a number of nations, including Egypt and Syria could be a consequence of diplomatic efforts to improve Turkish – Russian relations and the ongoing Russian efforts to facilitate meetings between Syria’s foreign-backed “opposition” and the Syrian government.

CH/L – nsnbc 27.12.2014

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