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The Turkish President makes his first visit to Egypt in more than 10 years to talk about Gaza

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

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

The live media broadcast showed Erdogan in Cairo, getting off his plane with the First Lady and being received by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Erdogan should discuss the situation in Gaza — including a potential ceasefire and aid deliveries — with Sisi, according to an Egyptian presidential spokesman.

Collapse of Turkish-Egyptian relations: Diplomatic relations between the two major Islamic countries in the Mediterranean reached their lowest point after current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led a military coup to oust the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's first democratically elected government.

Erdogan, whose conservative religious government had close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, was angry when they were ousted in 2014 and described Sisi as an “illegitimate tyrant.”

As Turkey continued to support the Brotherhood in Egypt and throughout the region, the relationship continued to deteriorate. Egypt has also been part of the years-long blockade of Qatar led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, while Turkey has supported Doha. To Ankara's frustration, in 2020 Egypt signed a maritime agreement with Greece, Turkey's main competitor, in the eastern Mediterranean.

Melting of diplomatic tensions: Only in 2021, after the end of the diplomatic crisis, relations between Ankara and Cairo began to improve. Despite tense political relations, trade has more than doubled since the Egypt-Turkey free trade agreement entered into force in 2007.

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Murat Aslan, professor of international politics at Hasan Kalyuncu University, says that Erdogan's trip represents a turning point in relations between the two countries.

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

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