Ankara, Cairo mark new milestone in normalizing ties: Turkish foreign minister

Wed, 5 Jul 2023 8:57 GMT
'From now on, our relations will continue to progress rapidly in political, economic, and all other fields,' says Hakan Fidan.
Ankara, Cairo mark new milestone in normalizing ties: Turkish foreign minister

By mutually appointing ambassadors, Ankara and Cairo have marked a new milestone in the normalization of ties, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said on Tuesday.

"With the joint decision we took today, as Egypt and Türkiye, we mutually appointed ambassadors," Fidan told a news conference in the capital Ankara with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi.

"At the point we have reached, we have now moved past an important stage in normalization. From now on, our relations will continue to progress rapidly in the political, economic, and all other fields."

Fidan's remarks came after Türkiye and Egypt raised their diplomatic ties to the level of embassies on Tuesday. Türkiye nominated Salih Mutlu Sen as its new ambassador to Cairo, while Egypt named Amr El Hamamy its ambassador to Ankara.

The countries' historical, geographical, cultural, strategic, and religious ties make them effectively inseparable, Fidan added.

Diplomatic relations between Türkiye and Egypt had been at the level of charges d'affaires since 2013.

Quran burning in Sweden

Turning to last week's burning of a copy of the Muslim holy book, the Quran, in Stockholm, Fidan said: "We once again strongly condemn the vile attack on the holy Quran in Stockholm and the condoning of this attack despite our warnings."

He said the burning taking place freely under police protection, as Sweden continues to seek NATO membership, made it especially concerning.

"The inability of Sweden's law enforcement and security system to react to such incidents is worrying in terms of security," he added.

Fidan said that Stockholm's failure to prevent provocations brings problems to NATO, not more strength.

In terms of strategic and security assessment, the question of whether Sweden's membership in NATO would be a burden or a benefit is now open to more debate, he added.

Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership soon after Russia launched its war in Ukraine in February 2022.

Although Türkiye approved Finland's membership to NATO, it is waiting for Sweden to abide by a trilateral memorandum signed in June 2022 in Madrid to address Ankara's security concerns on terrorism.

"It is not possible for us to make a positive assessment in an environment where terrorist groups can easily organize all kinds of actions on the streets of Stockholm, organize demonstrations and protests, and raise money," Fidan stressed.

Previously, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Sweden cannot hope to join NATO as long as it gives shelter and a green light to terrorists and supporters of terrorists.

"If Sweden continues its efforts and does its homework, there are always alternatives, just as in the case of Finland," Fidan said.

Israel's incursion into Palestinian territories

Fidan strongly condemned the recent incursion carried out by Israeli forces in the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, calling on Tel Aviv to instead act "prudently."

"The settlers' raids and attacks on our innocent Palestinian brothers must stop as soon as possible," he urged.

"We convey our views on the good of the whole region to the Israeli authorities in an open and transparent manner," Fidan added.

Tensions have been running high across the occupied West Bank in recent months amid repeated Israeli raids into Palestinian towns.

Nearly 190 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the start of this year, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

At least 25 Israelis have also been killed in separate attacks during the same period.

Ties with Jordan

Türkiye enjoys deep-rooted relations with Jordan based on strong ties of friendship, Fidan said.

"Many of the challenges we face are common, as you know. We have similar approaches on many regional and international issues. That is why we place importance on regular consultations with Jordan," he added.

Fidan also announced that Türkiye and Jordan are starting inter-ministerial political consultations.

Turning to economic ties, he said: "Despite global and regional difficulties, our trade volume last year topped $1 billion. We aim to maintain this momentum by increasing it."

Diplomatic relations between Türkiye and Jordan were established some 75 years ago, in 1947.

Syrian refugee crisis

For his part, Jordan's foreign minister extolled mutual ties with Ankara, saying: "Our ties with Türkiye are important not only for our interest but also for the region."

He said that their meeting tackled regional issues and affirmed that both sides share the same views.

Regarding the Syria, Safadi said that Amman and Ankara are at the top of countries that host Syrian refugees and efforts will be underway to facilitate their voluntarily repatriation.

"We agree with Türkiye on the need to work intensively to resolve the Syrian crisis and advance the asylum file," he said.

The Palestinian issue, Safadi said, was among the topics discussed, stressing the need to stop the escalation in Jenin in the occupied West Bank.

Safadi affirmed that Jordan and Türkiye condemn the Israeli "aggression" against Jenin and call for ending it immediately with "quick and effective international action."

He also thanked Türkiye for its supportive role for the Hashemite custodianship on Jerusalem's Muslim and Christian holy sites.

Regarding the Quran burning in Sweden, Safadi condemned the move, calling it "an extremist act that fuels hatred and cannot be justified in the context of freedom of expression."


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