Diplomacy

Turkish-Egyptian Tensions Take on an Economic Dimension

This past week, Turkish-Egyptian tensions took on a new, economic dimension. Egypt decided (Arabic link) to prevent the passage of Turkish trucks and ships through its territory to the Persian Gulf states, signaling an increase of friction between the two rival countries.

The Egyptian government signed an agreement with Turkey in March 2012 to use Egyptian ports for transporting Turkish products after Syria closed its crossing to all Turkish exports. These products are transported to Saudi ports and then to other gulf countries.

However, the Egyptian transportation minister’s advisor declared Egypt will not renew this agreement with Turkey after it ends in April, as reported by the Aswat Masriya website.

The Egyptian-Turkish conflict escalated last month after Turkish President Recep Erdogan criticized the current Egyptian regime, whose rise it described as a coup d’état, in his speech to the UN General Assembly.

Egyptian officials were outraged by the statement, viewing it as interference in the Egyptian internal issues. Egyptian diplomats retaliated by accusing Erdogan of funding terrorist groups.

According to the Al-Ahram newspaper, the recent acidic statements and diplomatic actions mark an escalation from November 2013, when Egypt and Turkey dismissed each other’s ambassadors and downgraded their diplomatic relations. Now the tension between the two nations has bled into the economic sphere.

The tense relations between Egypt and Turkey are partially due to Turkey’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood. The current Egypt government, which succeeded the previous Muslim Brotherhood administration led by President Mohamed Morsi, considers the Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

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