Sisi welcomes Erdogan for first visit to Egypt in more than 10 years

(Cairo) Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi welcomed his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Cairo on Wednesday for an unprecedented visit, the culmination of reconciliation after more than a decade of estrangement.

The two men, accompanied by their wives, exchanged a handshake when the Turkish leader got off the plane, according to images broadcast live. They were then due to hold “a bilateral summit” at the presidential palace in Cairo, according to media close to the Egyptian government.

On Monday, Mr. Erdogan said he was going to the United Arab Emirates and then to Egypt to “see what more can be done for our brothers in Gaza”, a small Palestinian territory bordering Egypt that has been relentlessly shelled by Israel since the attack. unprecedented murder of Hamas on October 7.

Mr. Erdogan added that Ankara was doing “everything to stop the bloodshed”, while more than 28,000 Palestinians were killed, the vast majority civilians, according to the Hamas government, in the offensive launched in the strip. of Gaza by Israel in retaliation for the October 7 attack.

The attack carried out that day by Hamas in Israel resulted in the deaths of more than 1,160 people on the Israeli side, the majority of them civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data.

The Turkish president last visited Egypt in 2012 when he was prime minister. The Islamist Mohamed Morsi, a great ally of Ankara, then ruled the country.

Bilateral relations

His Defense Minister, Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, overthrew him in 2013 and since then, Mr. Erdogan has repeated that he would “never” speak to “someone like” him.

Relations between the two men have nevertheless warmed up, their interests now converging in several regional theaters including Sudan and the Gaza Strip.

And if politically the rag has been burning for a long time – Egypt and Turkey support two rival governments in Libya – commercial relations have remained in good shape: Ankara is Cairo’s fifth commercial partner.

The two men are also expected to discuss the economy and development of bilateral relations, state media in both countries assure.

On the Gaza issue, Mr. Erdogan, who described Israel as a “terrorist state” and Hamas as a “group of liberators”, recalled the Turkish ambassador to Tel Aviv at the beginning of November, while deeming it impossible to ” break completely” with Israel.

Before October 7, several Hamas political leaders were based in Istanbul. They have since been quietly asked to leave.

From the start of the conflict in Gaza, Mr. Erdogan offered to mediate, but discussions on truces have so far been led by Qatar and Egypt.

On Tuesday, the American and Israeli intelligence directors, the Qatari prime minister and Egyptian leaders discussed ways to “work towards a truce in the Gaza Strip” in Cairo. These discussions were “positive”, reported television close to Egyptian intelligence.


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