Ahram Online | Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018
The head of a Turkish parliamentary delegation in Cairo also told reporters that Turkey has no maritime border problems with Egypt
File Photo: A general view of the Egyptian parliament during a working session in Cairo, Egypt (Photo: AP)
By Gamal Essam El-Din
Turkish MP Ali Arkscon told reporters in Cairo Saturday that in spite of political differences between Egypt and Turkey he is sure that these differences will be ironed out gradually.
“Egyptian-Turkish relations are based on strong foundations, and so I think that the two countries should do their best in the future to resolve differences between them,” said Arkscon.
Arkscon, who was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting held by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean in Cairo Saturday, said: “Egypt and Turkey are two powerful Islamic countries in the Muslim world and the Middle East and it is not good that they still have political differences.”
“I can say that in official and popular terms Turkey respects Egypt very much,” Arkscon added. “Also, as Turkish MPs we think we should play a greater role in settling differences between Islamic countries in general.”
“I came here to Cairo to sit down with Egyptian MPs and with deputies from different countries and we accepted that the meeting be headed by an Egyptian (parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal), and that shows that any differences or difficulties between Egypt and Turkey can be settled gradually and that we as Turkish MPs have a strong wish to recover strong bilateral relations with Egypt.”
Arkscon also said that “as a Turkish MP I am very happy to be here in Cairo today to help thawing the ice between Egypt and Turkey and let me thank Egypt’s parliament speaker and Egyptian MPs for hosting us and for their generosity and hospitality.”
Arkscon, who is a member of Turkish President Rcept Tayyib Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party, argued that Turkey has no maritime border problem with Egypt. “Turkey is just defending its water rights in the Mediterranean and its maritime borders with Cyprus.”
He said he does not expect the dispute between Turkey and Cyprus to reach the stage of military confrontation.
Political relations between Egypt and Turkey have rapidly deteriorated since the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. Erdogan led a hostile campaign against Cairo, refusing to recognise the regime led by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
Egyptian officials and MPs have repeatedly accused Turkey and Qatar of supporting the banned Muslim Brotherhood group, helping some of its leading officials in Istanbul to own satellite television channels to target El-Sisi in person.
Egypt’s interior ministry has also charged that many of the terrorist attacks in Egypt since 2013 have been masterminded by fugitive Brotherhood loylists in Turkey.
A parliamentary statement indicated Saturday that Egypt’s parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal led a meeting of the bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean. “This is the second meeting of the Assembly under Egyptian chairmanship, and it was attended by parliamentary representatives from Italy, Turkey, France and Egypt,” said the statement.
The statement also indicated that the meeting discussed the financial conditions of the Assembly and the necessity of building its headquarters very soon.
“Some proposed that the headquarters be set up in Marseilles in France or Barcelona in Spain,” said the statement, indicating that “it was agreed that member countries submit proposals in this respect until 30 March so that the coming plenary meeting of the Assembly, scheduled in Cairo for the end of April, would discuss it and make a decision.”