Dispute over Libyan territory and energy undermining Turkiye, Egypt reconciliation, say experts
ANKARA: Egypt has stopped its rapprochement with Turkiye due to the latter’s policies on energy and territorial issues in Libya and in spite of the recent crackdown by Ankara on journalists who are associated to members of the Muslim Brotherhood, say analysts.
The crisis started after the Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry, in an interview with Al-Arabiya TV about the UN-brokered Skhirat agreement, called on all parties to confront Fathi Bashagha’s administration.
Turkiye is, however, more interested in providing support to Tripoli’s Government of National Unity, which is headed by Abdel Hamid Dbeibah, which signed a memorandum of agreement regarding gas and energy with Ankara in the beginning of October.
Egypt has claimed they had no authority to act under the Dbeibah government, which was established in the context of a peace process led by the UN, had been revoked and that the administration was not authorized to search for gas or petroleum off of the Libyan coast. The signing of such arrangements, Cairo had warned, could cause tensions in the region that is rich in energy.
So so far, Cairo as well as Ankara have been holding two sessions of talks with deputy foreign ministers. They are trying to create an action plan to normalize their strained bilateral relations and to reach a consensus on regional issues.
But, no change has been completed at the diplomatic level because both countries are represented in charge of affairs.
Sami Hamdi, managing director at The International Interest, a global intelligence and risk firm located in London The gist of the matter lies in the fact that Cairo believes that the Turkiyean president Recep Tayyip Erdoan is seeking reconciliation due to the fact that he is struggling domestically and wants to secure Turkish advantages within the Mediterranean.
Since the beginning of last year, Turkiye has been demanding that Istanbul-based Egyptian opposition television channels moderate criticizing the president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi amid the increasing rapprochement between Egypt and the United States. They have also advised journalists who are exiled to search for a new “safe refugee.”
Muslim Brotherhood supporters recently claimed that Hossam Al-Ghamri who was the previous editor-in chief of Al-Sharq channel, had been detained by the police in Turkiye but released two days later but Ankara denied the claims as not true.
In the words of Hamdi, Cairo also believes that Turkiye’s effort to reconcile with the country is about buying time to establish its presence in Libya rather than establishing an agreement that will be beneficial to Egypt and restore relations.
Jalel Harchaoui Jalel Harchaoui, a Libya expert from The Royal United Services Institute, believes that the rift among Egypt and Turkiye has nothing to do with ideology.
Turkiye’s military presence Libya has been criticized by Cairo. In the Arab League summit in Algeria between Nov. 2 and 3, leaders resisted “foreign interference” in the internal affairs of all countries.