Egypt, Turkey appoint ambassadors to upgrade diplomatic relations

By Huseyin Hayatsever and Nadine Awadalla

ANKARA/CAIRO (Reuters) -Egypt and Turkey have appointed ambassadors to each other’s capitals for the first time in a decade to restore normal diplomatic relations, their foreign ministries announced on Tuesday.

The two nations’ relations broke down in 2013 after Egypt’s then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi, an ally of Ankara. Egypt expelled Turkey’s ambassador and accused Ankara of backing organisations bent on undermining the country.

They have not had ambassadors since, though Sisi, now Egypt’s president, and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan agreed to reinstate them in May.

Amr Elhamamy will become Egypt’s ambassador in Ankara while Turkey nominated Salih Mutlu Sen to become its ambassador in Cairo, the foreign ministries said in a joint statement.

The appointments marked an important milestone in the normalisation of relations, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said following the announcement.

“From now on, our relations will continue to improve rapidly in political, economic and all other fields. This is the will of our president and government,” Fidan told a news conference.

Consultations between senior foreign ministry officials in Ankara and Cairo began in 2021 as Turkey sought better ties with Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Normalisation between Ankara and Cairo accelerated after Sisi and Erdogan shook hands in Doha at the World Cup in 2022.

After a series of further steps towards rapprochement, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visited Turkey to show solidarity after the massive earthquakes that killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey and Syria in February.

Turkey’s foreign minister made a return visit to Egypt the following month.

The two countries have also been at odds over Libya, where they backed opposing factions in an unresolved conflict, and also over maritime borders in the gas-rich Eastern Mediterranean.

(Reporting by Nadine Awadalla and Huseyin Hayatsever; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel, Christina Fincher and Emma Rumney)