Creating new perspectives since 2009

Turkey signals it could reach maritime deal with Egypt if relations warm

March 4, 2021 at 11:42 am

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara, Turkey on 27 January 2021 [Cem Özdel/Anadolu Agency]

Turkey has signalled it could reach a deal with Egypt on the boundary between their maritime zones in the Mediterranean if relations between the two countries warm.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that the two countries could sign a maritime agreement, “depending on the trajectory of relations.”

A recent Egyptian map with the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) marked out is close to Turkey’s proposition, reports TRT World.

Greece has also put forward its own proposition regarding the EEZ, which Egypt has tended to favour due to political differences between Cairo and Ankara.

Last year, Egypt, Cyprus and Greece released a joint declaration accusing Turkey of carrying out “provocations” that threaten regional security including undersea drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean.

READ: Qatar, Egypt meet for first time since 2017 rift

However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Egypt not to sign an agreement with Greece at the expense of what’s best for the Egyptian people.

Egyptian political analyst Hamza Zawba told TRT that the Egyptian intelligence apparatus around Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is likely putting pressure on the Egyptian president to form a partnership with Turkey to end its long-standing dispute with a regional power and because it cannot rely on Israel and Greece for its regional security concerns.

Relations between Cairo and Ankara cooled after the 2013 Egyptian military coup against the country’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi and Cairo has since attempted to counter Ankara’s influence in the wider region.

Hundreds of Egyptians escaping rights violations at home have moved to Turkey.

Egypt has been a key member of the US-backed, Saudi-UAE camp which opposes Turkey and Qatar partly because they look favourably on the Muslim Brotherhood.

However, with the change of US administration following Joe Biden’s election, tensions have eased between the Turkey-Qatar and UAE-Saudi blocs with the latter earlier this year agreeing to end the three-year blockade on Doha.