One of the reasons behind Turkiye’s ongoing reconciliation with Egypt and the recent handshake between their presidents was the provision of Egyptian mango juice to the Turkish presidential palace, reports have revealed.
According to Abdulkadir Selvi – a columnist at the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet – on Wednesday, president Recep Tayyip Erdogan had frequently served mango juice to ministers and senior officials of his Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“When the guests asked about the story behind the mango juice, Erdogan would explain that Sisi had been sending the mango juice through the [officials] that visit Egypt,” Selvi reported.
Those gifts of famous Egyptian mango juice were reportedly a factor behind Ankara and Cairo’s ongoing reconciliation, and particularly the handshake between Erdogan and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi a week ago.
Apparently mediated by Qatar as the two leaders arrived at the World Cup in Doha, that handshake angered many throughout the world – dissident Egyptians and human rights activists – who felt betrayed by Erdogan’s rapprochement towards Sisi’s government.
It also contradicted previous vows by Erdogan to never meet with Sisi as late as 2019, when he stated that “I will never meet with such a person. First of all, he needs to release all prisoners with a general amnesty. As long as he does not release those people, we cannot meet with al-Sisi.” He also added that “those who are in contact with al-Sisi should know that they will be evaluated in history in a different way.”
Following the 2013 military coup in Egypt which ousted the country’s first democratically-elected president Mohammed Morsi and put current president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in power, Turkiye condemned the coup and the Egyptian military’s massacre of over 1,000 protestors, and also refused to recognise Sisi’s rule.
The situation has changed since then, however, with Ankara and Cairo accelerating their efforts towards reconciliation over the past two years.