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Turkey to send delegation to Egypt in May, foreign ministers to meet later

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Brussels

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will send a delegation led by its deputy foreign minister to Egypt in early May, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday, as Ankara ramps up a push to repair strained ties with Cairo after years of animosity.

Last month, Turkey said it had resumed diplomatic contacts with Egypt and wanted to further cooperation, eight years after ties crumbled over the Egyptian army toppling a Muslim Brotherhood president close to Ankara in 2013.

A thaw in ties between the regional powerhouses could have repercussions around the Mediterranean. They have backed rival sides in the war in Libya and sealed conflicting maritime deals with other coastal states. But Cavusoglu said on Wednesday that a new period was beginning in Turkey-Egypt ties.

Speaking in an interview with broadcaster NTV, Cavusoglu said Cairo had invited the Turkish delegation to visit Egypt in the first week of May to discuss ties. He added that a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, whom he spoke to at the weekend, would take place after those talks.

"The Egyptian side invited a delegation from Turkey to their country in the first week of May. The conditions between us have matured, meetings could continue," Cavusoglu said.

Cairo has said Turkey's actions "must show alignment with Egyptian principles" to normalise ties. Last month, Ankara asked Egyptian opposition TV channels operating in Turkey to moderate their criticism of Cairo, in the first concrete step aimed at easing diplomatic tensions.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Daren Butler and Hugh Lawson)