The Egyptian and Turkish FMs hold talks in Ankara on strengthening bilateral relations and expanding cooperation in the political, economic, and cultural spheres.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday announced that Turkey and Egypt agree on improving bilateral ties and raising diplomatic relations to the highest level.
“We are taking concrete steps to raise representation to the level of embassies. In the coming period, we will inform you with a joint statement,” Cavusoglu indicated at a news conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Ankara.
Shoukry visited Ankara for the third round of talks with his Turkish counterpart in two months.
Cavusoglu noted that “until then, we will continue to take some steps. I would like to say that there is no problem.”
The top Turkish diplomat said improving relations with Cairo will positively contribute to the region.
On his part, the Egyptian Foreign Minister said his talks with Cavusoglu were centered on strengthening bilateral relations and expanding cooperation in the political, economic, and cultural spheres.
“We agreed to continue this rapid pace of contact and communication which benefits us,” Shoukry said.
The top Egyptian diplomat confirmed that he and his Turkish counterpart agreed on a “specific timeframe” for elevating diplomatic ties that will be announced “at the appropriate time in preparation for a president-level summit that will mark the culmination of the journey we have started.”
Touching on the situation in Libya, Shoukry said both Egypt and Turkey “have a common desire to work for free and fair elections” that would generate a government that represents the Libyan people’s will.
Cavusoglu said that both sides “will cooperate more closely regarding Libya from now on. In our meeting today, we (saw) that our views are not essentially very different but that we think differently on some methods.”
Regarding collaboration in the energy sector, Shoukry highlighted that Turkey is the largest importer of energy from Egypt, expressing Cairo’s keenness to increase cooperation in this field.
On the Palestinian cause, Cavusoglu appreciated “the role that Egypt plays in the region in general, and in the Palestinian file in particular.”
Shoukry urges Turkey to withdraw troops from Syria
In a related context, the Egyptian Foreign Minister urged Turkey to withdraw its troops from Syria.
“I said that Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity should be preserved. And I said that foreign powers should be withdrawn from Syrian territory,” Shoukry told a joint media appearance after the talks.
Egypt and other Arab governments are amplifying their engagements with Damascus, a push that has drawn consternation from Washington.
Shoukry this month received his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad in Cairo for the first time since the start of the war on Syria more than a decade ago.
Cavusoglu claimed that Turkey’s military interference in Syria was needed to fight “terrorism”.
“We must make sure that there is no threat to us from there,” he said.