Skip to main content

The lost promise of Turkey-Egypt relations

Though Turkish-Egyptian relations have sunk to new lows with the reciprocal removal of ambassadors, ties between the two countries once promised economic and strategic development.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan waves to students after his speech at Cairo University, on the first day of his two-day trip to Egypt, November 17, 2012. Erdogan, an outspoken of critic of Israel, praised Egypt's Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi, on Saturday for recalling his ambassador from Tel Aviv in response to Israeli attacks on Gaza. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST EDUCATION) - RTR3AJEO
Read in 

On Nov. 23, Egypt's Foreign Ministry ordered the Turkish ambassador to Cairo to leave the country and decided to lower the country's diplomatic representation. Meanwhile, the Egyptian ambassador to Turkey has already returned to Cairo. A statement issued by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said the move was “because of Turkey's continued 'interference' in Egyptian internal affairs.”

Since the removal of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, Egyptian media have been bitterly critical of Turkey’s international lobbying against Egypt and have cited Muslim Brotherhood meetings with hostile agendas in Turkey to undermine the interim government. Is history repeating itself? After the Egyptian 1952 revolution — or Free Officers-led coup d’etat — the revolutionary government did the same thing. In reaction to the decision, Turkish President Abdullah Gul told reporters that he hoped our relations "will be restored soon," perhaps giving a small hint of disagreement with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.