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Turkey's president has made his first trip to Egypt to talk about Gaza in more than 10 years

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi welcomes Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at Cairo Airport, Egypt, on February 14, 2024. (Handout via Murat Sedinmuhurdar/Turkish Presidential Press Office/REUTERS)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made his first visit to Egypt since 2012 on Wednesday.

Live media broadcasts showed Erdogan disembarking from his plane with the first lady in Cairo and being greeted by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Erdogan is to discuss the situation in Gaza — including a possible ceasefire and aid delivery — with Sisi, a spokesman for the Egyptian president said.

Breakdown in Turkey-Egypt Relations: Diplomatic relations between the Mediterranean's two main Muslim countries hit a low point after Egypt's current president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, led a military coup to overthrow the country's first democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood.

Erdogan, who had close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a conservative religious government, was outraged when they were overthrown in 2014 and called Sisi an “illegal tyrant”.

The relationship continued to deteriorate as Turkey continued to support the Brotherhood in Egypt and throughout the region. Egypt was also part of the multi-year blockade of Qatar led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, while Turkey supported Doha. To Ankara's dismay, in 2020 Egypt signed a maritime pact with Greece, Turkey's main rival in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Alleviating Diplomatic Tensions: In 2021, after the diplomatic crisis ended, relations between Ankara and Cairo began to improve. Despite tense political relations, trade has more than doubled since the Egypt-Turkey Free Trade Agreement took effect in 2007.

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Murad Aslan, Professor of International Politics at Hasan Kalyonsu University, said that Erdogan's visit will be a turning point in the relationship between the two countries.

“The region needs cooperation, not conflict,” he told CNN.

Esmond Harmon

"Entrepreneur. Social media advocate. Amateur travel guru. Freelance introvert. Thinker."

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