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Timothy Kaldas

Pragmatism May Allow Turkey and Egypt to Mend Fences

Ankara and Cairo never let their differences get in the way of trade. That’s now paying off.

The Brotherhood never got in the way of business.

The Brotherhood never got in the way of business.

Photographer: Adem Altan/AFP

Turkey’s government is seeking a thaw in relations with the Arab world after a long cold spell. Ankara seems especially keen on improving ties with Cairo. Ibrahim Kalin, the spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told Bloomberg: “A new chapter can be opened, a new page can be turned in our relationship with Egypt as well as other other Gulf countries to help regional peace and stability.”

If Kalin’s assertion reflected a change in tone, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu went farther, offering Egypt at least one specific benefit from improved relations: A boundary agreement on the maritime zones claimed by the two countries in the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean. Reports in the pro-government Turkish media suggest Ankara is opening channels to Cairo with a view to resolving their maritime-zoning conflicts.