Turkey, Egypt eyeing regional hegemony: Ex-diplomat
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been at loggerheads with the current Egyptian administration since his close ally, former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, was ousted by the military in 2013.
However, statements by members of his ruling Justice and Development Party shortly before the attempted 2016 coup indicated that Turkey’s attitude toward Egypt had begun to shift. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim sent a conciliatory message to Egypt in a speech July 11, expressing Turkey’s desire to improve relations. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu raised the possibility of restoring commercial and economic ties and suggested holding a ministerial level meeting to reach a solution that serves the interests of both nations.
Recent President Erdogan’s message of condolence to El – Sisi after the terrorist attack on the Egyptian mosque seems to be another signal from Ankara to mend ties with Cairo.
To shed more light on the issue, an interview is done with Nosratallah Tajik, former Iranian ambassador to Jordan.
Turkish government sent its official message of condolence to El – Sisi on the occasion of the recent terrorist attack on the Egyptian mosque despite of existing conflicts between the two states on “Muslim Brotherhood” that is considered a terrorist group by Egyptian government . What is the reason behind Turkey’s approach in this regard?
Competition between Governments of Egypt and Turkey is not so much as battle or conflict among two states or countries. This kind of hostility between these governments is not only about “Muslim Brotherhood” but it is for reaching regional hegemony, politics domination as well as to be closer to USA. So in this context Turkish Government doesn’t like to have any internal or regional pressure on his foreign policy.
Some analysts believe the reason that Turkey tries to get closer to Egypt is to decrease pressures on Muslim Brotherhood as a mediator. What is your opinion?
Our region and its problems and priorities have been changed since there are lots of new problems and issues and new atmosphere of foreign elements and activities such as Trump approach to region in ISIS era.
It is said that Turkey tries to get closer to Egypt to prevent more closeness of Egypt to Saudi Arabia in order to keep balance in the region. What do you think of this?
This seems like a plain translation of what I just said in questions two without going to details. Relation between Saudi Arabia and USA have changed when Obama left White House. Trump is trying to have closer relation with Saudi Arabia to gain financial benefit rather than to have open eye on Human rights and Saudi activities in the region such as running a massacre in Yemen!
Recently, former US foreign minister Kerry said, during Obama presidency, the Egyptian government pressed US to take military action against Iran. What can be the reasons behind such hostile policy of Cairo toward Iran?
Really I don’t know how this could be an accurate quotation, but hostile policy of some countries such as Egypt toward Iran is not new. It depends on many elements such as completion of Saudi Arabia competition and their hostile policy toward Iran.
How do you evaluate the role of Saudi Arabia in continuation of hostilities between Iran and Egypt?
I don’t believe Egypt will follow Saudi hostility towards Iran any more. Egypt and Iran have their own concerns and problems. Unfortunately these two countries didn’t use their own positive potential to build a stable relation after revolution in 1979. Although Egypt doesn’t have its previous impact on regional issues but Iran should consider to make confidence building measures routes between two countries. Recent development between Egypt and Russia in military ties confirms this idea to think more about designing of such policy.
Interview by Payman Yazdani