Monday, September 12, 2011

Erdogan visit comes at a sensitive time for Egypt’s rulers

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due in Cairo on Monday for an official visit at a very sensitive time for Egypt’s de facto rulers and when both countries’ relations with Israel are making headlines.....

Abdel-Alim Mohamed, Israeli affairs expert at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, agrees that the timing is significant due to Turkish focus on the region expanding and the standoff between Turkey and Israel.

The Turkish position vis-a-vis Israel is very popular with Egyptians,” he said, “as it conveys a dignified stance that resonates with - and inspires - segments of the Egyptian population.”....

Despite this, it is Erdogan's wish to visit Gaza that is the main talking point for an Israel, which considers the idea a “diplomatic mistake” according to an Israeli official quoted in the Jerusalem Post.

But the subject of Gaza widens the gap between Egypt and Turkey, according to Ibrahim Yousri, former diplomat and head of the campaign to stop Egyptian gas exports to Israel.

“The fact is there is a big gap between Erdogan’s position towards Israel and Egypt’s, which is participatory in the siege of Gaza,” he said. “Egypt had a muted response after its troops were killed on the border and for that reason I don’t feel Erdogan’s visit will be anything more than an embarrassment for Egypt’s rulers.”....

Mohamed said, “Egypt is a sovereign country and this means that it can take diplomatic stances that reinforce its policy and the wishes of its people. Though Israel might think so it doesn’t constitute an act of aggression or hostility, nor does it mean that military action is imminent in any way.”...."

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