Turkey’s normalization with rivals gains momentum (FM)

NURAY BABACAN-ANKARA

Turkey’s attempts to normalize relations with its enemies will gain momentum through major visits and meetings with Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Turkey’s foreign minister reportedly told Party lawmakers. Justice and Development (AKP) in power.

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Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu briefed AKP lawmakers on the government’s continued efforts to restore ties with countries where relations with Turkey have been strained in recent years. These include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt and Armenia.

“We have come a long way with the UAE and the Saudis. The transfer of Jamal Khashoggi and the activation of judicial cooperation were in line with the normalization process [with Saudi Arabia]Çavuşoğlu reportedly told AKP lawmakers.

He referred to a Justice Ministry decision to transfer the Khashoggi case to Saudi Arabia. The dissident Saudi journalist was killed at the premises of the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia by a squad made up of senior Saudi security officials. Ties between Ankara and Riyadh were badly damaged due to the incident.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to visit Saudi Arabia at the invitation of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. There is no official confirmation of the visit from either side yet.

Çavuşoğlu and Akar expected in Israel

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Another country that Turkey is in talks to normalize relations with is Israel. “There are important developments regarding ties with Israel. We will visit Israel. Palestine also welcomes the improvement of our relations with Israel,” Çavuşoğlu told AKP lawmakers.

The Palestinians believe that improving relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv will be in their interest and contribute to the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, he reportedly added.

Erdoğan previously announced that Çavuşoğlu would be accompanied by Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez during his visit to Israel, but it was revealed that the top diplomat will visit the country with Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in place until the end of April.

Turkey and Israel had lowered the level of their mutual diplomatic presence to the charge d’affaires level following the killing of dozens of Palestinian civilians by the latter’s security forces in early 2018 during a protest against the states decision. States to move their embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. The first important step towards achieving normalization was the visit of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Ankara in March.

Erdoğan plans to make Herzog’s visit consistent with the results of Çavuşoğlu-Akar’s trip to Israel.

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New dimension with Armenia

Turkey and Armenia, two neighboring countries that have never established diplomatic relations and have kept their borders closed since the early 1990s, are discussing ways to start a normal bilateral relationship.

After two rounds of meetings between the two countries’ special envoys in January and February, Çavuşoğlu met his Armenian counterpart, Ararat Mizroyan, at the Antalya Diplomatic Forum in March.

“We coordinate the standardization process [with Armenia] with Azerbaijan,” Çavuşoğlu reportedly told lawmakers. Azerbaijan and Armenia fought in a 44-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh which ended with the victory of the former. Baku and Yerevan recently agreed to launch formal talks towards a peace deal that includes establishing a final border between the two neighbors.

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Meeting with a senior Egyptian diplomat during an iftar dinner

Last but not least, Çavuşoğlu also shared important insights regarding the slow-paced normalization process with Egypt. The two countries held two meetings in 2021 for the normalization of relations, but there were no visible results.

Çavuşoğlu hinted that he will meet Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry very soon at an iftar dinner in Istanbul. He did not specify when Shoukry would be in Turkey. Turkey and Egypt have long been at odds, as Ankara was the most vocal in opposing the coup that toppled President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. The coup was engineered by the Minister of Defense Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who is now President of Egypt. .

Policy,

Sharon P. Juarez