Normalization of Turkish-Egyptian Diplomatic Relations Sparks Optimism for Regional Developments

Türkiye and Egypt began their journey to normalize bilateral relations in 2020. The prospects for stabilizing the link between Ankara and Cairo rose when Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi met for the first time during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in November 2022. The process went smoothly, and both sides appointed ambassadors recently.

Egypt and Türkiye's ties had been severed since Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's coup against Mohammad Morsi in 2013.

Ankara had shown significant opposition to Morsi’s ousting. In light of the developments, Cairo argued that the Turkish Ambassador was meddling with Egypt’s internal affairs. Thus, the Ambassador was declared persona non grata.

Normalization processes started in late 2020. Two rounds of political consultations were held under the chairmanship of Deputy Foreign Ministers of Türkiye and Egypt, the first in Cairo and the second in Ankara in May and September 2021.

Parliaments got involved in the process too. The Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) established an Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group with the Parliament of Egypt in 2021.

Multilateral conferences were also employed to strengthen the process. Egypt's then Deputy MFA Hamdi Sanad Loza participated in the III. Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit held in Istanbul in 2021.

Minister of Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change Murat Kurum headed the Turkish delegation to the COP 27 Conference held in Sharm El Sheikh in 2022.

There, Kurum met with Sameh Shoukry, MFA of the Arab Republic of Egypt, who was the President of COP 27.

On November 20, 2022, President Erdoğan met his counterpart el-Sisi at the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony in Doha, Qatar.

The two leaders exchanged a handshake, and their discussion helped accelerate the diplomatic process. This development set an example of sports diplomacy.

Egypt has also been highly active in the help efforts to mitigate the damage the earthquakes on February 6th caused.

Mutual interests and understandings, especially Türkiye’s changing stance against Ihvan/Muslim Brothers organization and common goals in the East Mediterranean, helped form the healing of relations.

The two Mediterranean countries steered bilateral relations in the lowest diplomatic rank, Chargé d’Affaires, until very recently.

The Egyptian side appointed Amr el-Hamami as the Ambassador to Ankara. Similarly, Turkish Ambassador Salih Mutlu Şen will serve in Cairo.

The decrees were published in The Egyptian Official Gazette and The Official Gazette of Türkiye.

Şen and Hamami were Chargés d’Affaires before the relations normalized in Cairo and Ankara, respectfully.


In a moment dubbed as “the crowning of the normalization,” Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will attend President Erdoğan’s invitation to Türkiye on the 27th of July, 2023.

As the bilateral relations normalized, the expectation is that the Egyptian President’s visit will be productive.

El-Sisi has not visited Türkiye for a long time. The prospected visit will be his first official state visit to Türkiye since he became president in 2013.

According to reports, the leaders will discuss regional issues alongside bilateral relations during this historic visit.

The most noteworthy issue will be Libya, as Türkiye is a central player in the conflict, and Egypt has security concerns about spillover effects.

“The meeting could result in a Libya Platform with Cairo, just like the Astana Platform for Syria,” international relations expert Prof. Dr. Hasan Ünal wrote for the Independent Turkish.

Ankara has immense influence over the Government of National Unity, the UN-backed legitimate government in Libya.

A ceasefire agreement between the parties has the potential to bring stability to the country, thus creating a viable environment for the markets to re-organize.

If the warring sides stop, Cairo will be pleased as their western border will no longer face threats of spillover war and irregular migration.

If the sides reach an agreement to bring peace, the new status quo will be beneficial for Türkiye and Egypt.

The second crucial topic between Ankara and Cairo is the EEZs in the East Mediterranean. EEZs are regional and bilateral, and they came to attention after Türkiye signed a memorandum with Libya on the topic.

As a retaliation, Egypt signed agreements of similar character with Greece and Southern Cyprus, other member states of the East Med Gas Forum.

According to BBC Turkish, Ankara aims to engage with this forum by mending relations with Cairo.

Bilateral relations are likely to focus more on trade. Even though the two countries kept trading during the diplomatic ice age, “the volume of commerce was not up to its potential,” Ünal says.

Egypt is a powerhouse in the Middle East, Eastern Mediterranean, and North Africa regions. Türkiye is a central player in multiple areas, including the Middle East and the East Med. Better cooperation between the two countries is bound to bring more serenity to the regions.

Mansur Ali Bilgiç -