A handshake between Turkiye’s President Tayyip Erdogan and Abdel Fattah al Sisi, his counterpart from Egypt, paved the way for a breakthrough between the two countries.

Erdogan and Sisi shook hands on the sidelines of the World Cup in Qatar last week in what Cairo described as a new start in bilateral relations.

At the same time, Turkiye is also looking for improving relations with Syria amid changing priorities and interests despite the reports that Ankara is ready for a land offensive against the Kurds in northern Syria.

It was the removal in 2013 and the subsequent death of jailed Mohamed Morsi, the former president of Egypt, in 2019 which worsened the relations between the two countries. Meanwhile, the competing interests in Libya were also a huge factor as two sides backed opposite sides in the civil war. Erdogan stood by the Tripoli while Morsi supported Khalifa Haftar militarily.

Erdogan told a TV channel on Sunday that the process of building ties with Egypt would begin with a meeting of ministers from the two countries.

He said his meeting with Sisi lasted for 30 to 45 minutes. “We focused on talks with President Al-Sisi and said now let’s exchange visits of low-level ministers. Next, let’s broaden the scope of these talks,” he said, also hinting at the possibility of improving relations with Syria.

“Things can return to normal with Syria in the next stage, as happened with Egypt,” he said.

Experts are of the opinion that the war in Ukraine, representing a fight between democracy and authoritarianism, is resulting in new alliances. As a result, the dictatorships and the rulers with dictatorial mindset are now joining hands while reviewing their policies and mending mutual differences.  

Sources say the handshake was opened the door to a flurry of back-door diplomacy between intelligence officials from Turkey and Egypt as they met in Cairo at the weekend. , said a regional source with knowledge of the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.

They also say that Turkiye and Egypt are set to begin talks on military, political and commercial issues including energy projects as part of significant discussions.

On Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters that Ankara and Cairo may restore full diplomatic ties in coming months.

About the talks, an Egyptian intelligence source said the two delegations had discussed how to bring their points of view on common security issues closer. Those issues included Turkiye-based media outlets associated with the Muslim Brotherhood and opposed to Egypt’s government.

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