Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has praised Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s efforts on Gaza, following Saturday’s joint summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League in Saudi Arabia.
The two leaders have had strained relations for years over Egypt’s 2013 military coup that ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
Erdoğan, who has previously referred to President Sisi as a “coup plotter” and “murderer”, spoke positively of their recent meeting, emphasising the importance of the Egyptian president operating the Rafah Gate between Egypt and Gaza despite the challenges.
“Of course it is very important that the President of Egypt, in particular, despite all the negativity, operates the Rafah Gate and makes it operational. His efforts in this regard so far are admirable,” Erdoğan told reporters.
Erdoğan stressed the importance of continuous communication between the two nations, with both foreign ministers and intelligence chiefs in constant contact. He also expressed Turkey’s readiness to take responsibility as a guarantor in the implementation phase of any solution reached.
After years of diplomatic tension between Turkey and Egypt following the ousting of Morsi in 2013, diplomatic efforts gained momentum last November when Sisi and Erdoğan met and shook hands on the sidelines of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
At the summit, Erdoğan was also in the same frame as Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, with whom he has been on a rapprochement course for some time.
Faced with Turkish efforts to reconcile, Assad has repeatedly said that this can only happen if Turkish forces withdraw from Syrian territory.
Turkish troops and forces allied to Ankara and currently control nearly half of a strip of Syria close to the Turkish border.
Turkey refuses to withdraw from Syria and the Syrian government refuses to negotiate with Turkey, relying instead on Russian mediation.