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Will Egypt sell Alexandria to Turkiye?

February 16, 2024 at 8:24 am

A picture taken on July 12, 2020, shows the Attarine Mosque, in the Mediterranean Egyptian city of Alexandria [Getty Images]

Egypt recently took an important step towards alleviating its financial burdens given the difficulty it is facing due to the foreign exchange crisis. This step is the sale of the Ras El-Hikma area, located approximately 350 kilometres north-west of the capital, Cairo, to the UAE for $22 billion. Now, would Egypt sell Alexandria, which has great historical and cultural significance, to Turkiye, which has been searching for a centre for shipping and supply to Africa for many years?

Alexandria, a city founded by Alexander the Great, has embraced many civilisations throughout history. During the era of the Ottoman Empire in particular, strong cultural and historical ties were established with the Turks residing in the city. Therefore, Alexandria’s deep historical and cultural ties with Turkiye suggest that such a sale or lease can be easily achieved.

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One can say that leasing or selling Alexandria to Turkiye will not only strengthen historical and cultural relations between the two countries but can also provide economic benefits in many areas for both parties. Leasing Alexandria in particular could also contribute to making it Turkiye’s gateway to Africa, through the establishment of a new commercial and logistical centre between the two countries. This would create new trade and economic opportunities that are not only limited to Turkiye and Egypt but extend to other countries in Africa. As an important trade and shipping centre in the Mediterranean region, Alexandria boasts a strategic location with great potential for logistics services and supply chain management. There is no doubt that the combination of Turkiye’s experience and infrastructure in this field and the valuable location of Alexandria can give the region great vitality and recovery on the economic level. Moreover, this cooperation may also be a strategic step for Turkish commercial expansion in Africa, in addition to its contribution to finding a solution to Egypt’s economic problems.

At the same time, this cooperation that could be formed through Alexandria, could positively impact diplomatic relations between the two countries. Egypt and Turkiye have established close relations at different stages of history and experienced tensions for many reasons, and therefore, using Alexandria as a “cultural and economic bridge” can contribute to strengthening relations between the two countries by opening a new area of cooperation.

If Egypt leases Alexandria to Turkiye, it provides Egypt with an economic escape, and may at the same time lead to strengthening cultural and historical ties. This potential cooperation could make significant contributions to reviving regional trade, creating new job opportunities, and continuing to strengthen relations between the two countries. However, making such an important decision certainly does not depend only on economic considerations, but rather requires deep diplomatic negotiations and a careful review of common interests of both countries.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Quds Al-Arabi on 14 February 2024

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.