Turkish delegation heads to Cairo for diplomatic talks

A Turkish delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal has left for Cairo to hold diplomatic talks, T24 news site reported,  as Turkey looks to normalise relations with its long time regional rival.

The visit arrived as Turkey last month announced the start of a new era in relations with the north African country. Egypt and Turkey agreed to upgrade contacts to foreign ministry level after meetings between officials of their intelligence agencies, according to the Turkish foreign ministry.

Relations between Ankara and Cairo have been strained since a military coup in Egypt in 2013 brought President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to power and he began a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey, under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, frequently condemned Sisi as a dictator and became a safe haven for Egyptian exiles opposed to the government in Cairo.

The two countries also support opposing sides in the Libya conflict and almost came into direct confrontation last summer.

Turkey has also been left out of a Mediterranean energy export agreement between Egypt, Israel, Cyprus and Greece.  

Turkey’s Trade Minister Mehmet Muş on Monday said Turkey wishes to improve its economic relations with Egypt as it pushes to repair diplomatic ties between the countries, Dünya newspaper reported. 

"Parallel to the developing diplomatic relations with Egypt, we want to strengthen our trade and economic ties in the coming period," Muş said during an event where he announced monthly trade figures in Ankara.