Daily News Portal

International report – Newly reconciled, Turkey and Egypt could be a force for stability in

Turkey and Egypt have both been involved in civil wars in Ethiopia and Libya, each backing a different side.

Analysts hope the restoration of full diplomatic ties between Cairo and Ankara in early July will help ease tensions across Africa and the Middle East.

“It could affect Egypt, at least the issue they have in Ethiopia, because both countries support different sides of the conflict,” predicts security analyst Aya Burweila.

“So, in general, I think this is good. I think it’s helpful for Libya as well because both sides support different factions in Libya,” adds Burweila, who specialises in Libya.

 “And I think this stalemate has gone on for such a long time. It is about time existing powers figure out something that everyone can agree on,” she concluded.

Libya crisis

In 2020, Turkey’s military intervention in support of Libya’s Government of National Accord against the Egyptian-backed forces of General Khalifa Hafta brought Turkey and Egypt to the brink of a direct confrontation.

“When you are looking at the tense times, Turkey and Egyptian armies almost came face to face here,” recounts Turkish presidential advisor Mesut Casin.

Casin, an international security expert at Istanbul’s Yeditepe University, says economic cooperation offers a way forward out of the current tensions in Libya.

Turkey and Egypt, first of all, may bring energy security and energy trade. Secondly, if they come together in Libya, it should be beneficial to both Turkey and Libya,” he said.

But Turkey’s military presence and the deployment of Syrian mercenaries in Libya are potential obstacles to a Turkish-Egyptian rapprochement.

Egypt “wants to see the withdrawal of [Turkish] troops in Libya, the withdrawal of Syrian mercenaries in Libya. Egypt has a red line in Libya,” warns analyst Burweila.

“They’re very wary of foreign bases and its neighbouring country, and definitely foreign troops that are associated with Islamist extremism. So they want to see concrete actions from Turkey before they move forward. Having said that, I think the first step to any concrete action is diplomatic relations,” she added.

Energy resources

Libya’s vast energy wealth offers a powerful impetus for cooperation, suggests Jalel Harchaoui at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies in London.

Harchaoui points out that a deal is waiting to be made, with Turkey backing the regime controlling western Libya and Egypt supporting forces in the east of the country.

“Egyptian workers could have an easier time finding their traditional historical jobs in the western, most populated half of Libya. And if in exchange, they facilitate the economic penetration of Turkey in the east, then it would be better for everybody from an economic perspective,” he explained.

The future of Libya is predicted to top the agenda when Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi visits Ankara for talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which is expected to happen in the coming weeks.

The state visit is seen as symbolically marking a return to normal relations.

Regional axis

In turn that brings the hope that cooperation can replace rivalry between the two countries, especially when it comes to regional issues.

“It’s going to be about taking care of Libya,” said Harchaoui, “and avoiding situations worsening in secondary theatres like Tunisia, or if Chad gets into trouble because the Sudan war fragments it.”

He added: “You would be able to just assume that Turkey and Egypt are roughly on the same side. Same thing with Sudan; you don’t have the knee-jerk reaction of always being against the other.”

Money also could have a crucial role in keeping the Turkey-Egypt rapprochement on track.

Erdogan’s recent visit to the Arab Gulf States saw him sign tens of billions of dollars in contracts with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, both allies of Egypt. The funds are vital to keeping Turkey’s floundering economy afloat.

Analysts say such deals will also help ensure the future of Turkey and Egypt’s new detente and with it, the removal of a destabilising force in the regions.

Read Nore:International report – Newly reconciled, Turkey and Egypt could be a force for stability in