Turkey's Erdogan on first Egypt visit in decade with Gaza in focus


Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan made his first visit to Egypt since 2012 on Wednesday to meet President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, taking a big step toward rebuilding relations between the regional powers.


Erdogan has said discussions would focus on Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip. The leaders, whose relations frayed over Egypt's 2013 military coup planned to hold a joint press conference later.

The visit caps diplomatic efforts in recent years to thaw the nations' frosty relations. They mutually appointed ambassadors last year, and this month Turkey said it would provide Egypt with armed drones.

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

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.

According to a draft programme, Sisi and Erdogan were to hold bilateral talks before a meeting between the two delegations, with a formal dinner planned.

Erdogan has sought to improve relations with Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Israel since 2021 - though since October he has publicly sniped with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Israel's devastating war against Hamas in Gaza.

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 Palestinian territory.


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