Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meets with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Mersin, Turkey, February 27, 2023. Image Credit: REUTERS file

CAIRO: Turkey’s top diplomat will visit Egypt on Saturday as relations ease after a decade of strained ties, Cairo’s foreign ministry said.

It follows a visit last month by Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to Turkey in a show of solidarity after the devastating earthquake that claimed tens of thousands of lives in Turkey and neighbouring Syria.

The visit to Cairo by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will “kick off the return to normal relations between the two countries”, the ministry said.

Relations ran into trouble after the 2013 ouster of Egypt’s Islamist president Mohammad Morsi, an ally of Turkey.

At the time, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would “never” speak to “anyone” like Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sisi.

But in November, Al Sisi and Erdogan shook hands in Qatar, in what the Egyptian presidency heralded as a new beginning in their ties, and the two leaders then spoke by telephone after the earthquake in February.

A Turkish delegation visited Egypt in May 2021 to discuss “normalisation”.

However, while diplomatic exchanges were once frosty, business never stopped - in 2022, Turkey was the largest importer of Egyptian products totalling $4 billion.

But disagreements remain, with Turkey home to Arab journalists critical of their governments, in particular Egyptian media close to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group outlawed by Cairo.

Cairo and Ankara also disagree over Libya, where Turkey has sent military advisers backing forces opposed to Egyptian ally Khalifa Haftar, the eastern based Libyan military strongman.