Turkish PM: We want to repair ties with Egypt
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Turkish PM: We want to repair ties with Egypt

Yildirim says it will take time to restore normal relations, which nosedived when Egyptian army deposed Morsi in 2013

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and Egypt's former president Mohammed Morsi salute the members of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara, Turkey in Sept. 2012 (photo credit: AP/Kayhan Ozer)
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and Egypt's former president Mohammed Morsi salute the members of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara, Turkey in Sept. 2012 (photo credit: AP/Kayhan Ozer)

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Turkey wants to repair its ties with Egypt, after relations soured over the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Saturday.

Relations between Ankara and Cairo took a nosedive after the Egyptian military deposed Morsi on July 30, 2013.

Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, had been a close ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party-led (AKP) government.

Erdogan repeatedly condemned the ouster as a “coup d’etat” against Morsi, and in a show of solidarity at rallies he has often flashed the four-finger “Rabaa” hand salute — seen as a symbol of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Turkish Prime Minister and the leader of Turkey's ruling party, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Binali Yildirim gestures as he speaks during an AK Party's group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara, on August 16, 2016. (AFP PHOTO/ADEM ALTAN)
Turkish Prime Minister and the leader of Turkey’s ruling party, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Binali Yildirim gestures as he speaks during an AK Party’s group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara, on August 16, 2016. (AFP PHOTO/ADEM ALTAN)

“We think we need to develop economic and cultural ties with Egypt as countries that use the two sides of the Mediterranean,” Yildirim told reporters at a briefing in Istanbul.

However he sounded a note of caution that high-level relations would not be repaired overnight.

“We think we need to start from somewhere,” he said.

It is not the first time Yildirim has expressed hope for improved relations with Egypt.

In June, he said he did not want to see “permanent enmity” with countries such as Egypt and Syria.

Regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia, one of the main backers of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, is keen to see the two countries reconcile as it grows increasingly close to Turkey.

A man holds up a photo of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a Pro-Erdogan rally in Taksim square in Istanbul on July 22, 2016, following the failed military coup attempt of July 15. (AFP / OZAN KOSE)
A man holds up a photo of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a Pro-Erdogan rally in Taksim square in Istanbul on July 22, 2016, following the failed military coup attempt of July 15. (AFP / OZAN KOSE)

After the July 15 failed putsch in Turkey by a rogue military faction aiming to oust Erdogan from power, Egypt’s presidency remained mum.

However, the foreign ministry released a statement on consular efforts to help Egyptians in Turkey.

Turkey appears to be taking steps to return to its former “zero problems with neighbors” foreign policy after recent rapprochements with Russia and Israel.

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