Turkey, Egypt to reappoint ambassadors as ties improve

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – Turkey and Egypt will soon announce the reappointment of ambassadors, their foreign ministers said in Ankara Thursday, as the two regional powers put years of tensions behind them and mend frayed ties.

Speaking to reporters in the Turkish capital, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Turkish counterpart also said the sides were working toward a possible meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt.

Egypt and Turkey withdrew ambassadors as tension between them flared following the Egyptian military’s 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi amid mass protest against his divisive one year of rule. Morsi hailed from the Muslim Brotherhood group, which Turkey supported. Egypt has designated the group a terrorist organization.

Turkey however, recently abandoned its critical approach toward the Egyptian leader, and Erdogan and el-Sissi were photographed shaking hands in November during the soccer World Cup in Qatar.

“You (journalists) often ask me ‘when will you appoint ambassadors again?'” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. “We have discussed this issue today and we are taking concrete steps to raise the level of representation to the level of ambassador.”

Cavusoglu added that Turkey and Egypt would announce the reappointment of ambassadors in a joint statement “in the upcoming period.”

The rapprochement between the two countries is part of Turkey’s efforts to build bridges with regional countries and end its international isolation amid an economic downturn. Turkey has recently also repaired its ties with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Cavusoglu last month became the highest ranking Turkish official to visit Egypt in over a decade. In February, Shoukry toured quake-hit areas in Turkey and Syria to show solidarity with the two nations.

Turkey and Egypt have collided in other areas, including Libya, where they back opposing sides.

But on Thursday, Cavusoglu said their two countries would “work more closely” on Libya.

Shoukry said: “We are in agreement for the creation of a government (in Libya) that would reflect the will of the people and protect its territorial integrity.”

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