Erdogan says Turkiye ready to cooperate with Egypt on Gaza

Erdogan says Turkiye ready to cooperate with Egypt on Gaza

ISTANBUL (Reuters): Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkiye was ready for cooperation with Egypt to rebuild Gaza as he made his first visit to the country since 2012.

Erdogan and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi held a joint news conference on Wednesday in Cairo after bilateral talks, taking a big step toward rebuilding relations between the regional powers.

Erdogan said the humanitarian tragedy in Gaza topped the agenda of their talks. “We will continue to cooperate and stand in solidarity with our Egyptian brothers to put an end to the bloodshed in Gaza,” he said, adding Turkiye was determined to step up talks with Egypt at all levels in order to establish peace and stability in the region.

President Erdogan also vowed to boost trade with Egypt to $15 billion in the short term, adding that the two countries were evaluating energy and defense cooperation.

“I’d like to emphasize the continued connection between our peoples, over the past ten years, while our trade and investment relationship saw steady growth,” El-Sisi said.

Relations between Ankara and Cairo broke down in 2013 after Egypt’s then-army chief El-Sisi led the ouster of the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi, an ally of Turkiye who had become Egypt’s first democratically elected president the year before.

The countries mutually appointed ambassadors last year. This month Turkiye said it would provide Egypt with armed drones.

El-Sisi greeted Erdogan as he emerged from his plane in Cairo with his wife and they conversed as they walked along a red carpet amid a fanfare, live television footage showed.

Egypt, Israel, Qatar and the United States held inconclusive talks on Tuesday in search of a Gaza truce agreement. Cairo has made clear it will not allow an exodus of Gaza refugees over its border with the shattered Palestinian territory.