Ankara has no intention of breaking off relations with Egypt after coup

Ankara, which has strongly condemned the coup in Egypt that ousted the country's first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, last week, has no plan to impose sanctions on Egypt or break off relations after the coup, Turkish diplomatic sources have said.

“Currently, Turkey's priority is to ensure that Egypt returns back to democracy as soon as possible. Turkey is continuing its intense diplomatic contacts with other countries on what could be done to achieve this aim,” said a Turkish senior diplomat, who spoke to Today's Zaman on condition of anonymity.

Turkey has called on international institutions, including the EU and Arab League, and on other countries to step up pressure on Egypt to respect and protect democracy.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday following Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's intense phone diplomacy with his American and Qatari counterparts, John Kerry and Khalid al-Atiyya, as well as a number of other regional and European politicians over the weekend.

The diplomat also added that it was out of question to break off relations with Egypt or downgrade diplomatic ties by withdrawing the Turkish ambassador from Cairo.

According to observers, cutting or downgrading the level of ties with the coup regime in Egypt does not look like being the most rational thing for Turkey to do.

Yaşar Yakış, a former Turkish foreign minister and the president of the Ankara-based Center for Strategic Communication (STRATİM), noted that Turkey should act pragmatically in maintaining ties but should also be careful in not supporting an army that has ousted the country's democratically elected leader.

“It is not possible for Turkey to cooperate with army. More precisely, it is not right to cooperate. However, it is also not right to totally cut ties with Egypt,” Yakış told Today's Zaman.

Observers agree that breaking off relations with the coup regime in Egypt may further damage Turkey's current situation in the Middle East considering that Turkey has already broken off relations with the Syrian regime, is at odds with the government in Baghdad and reconciliation talks with Israel have been suspended.

Professor Koray Çalışkan, a lecturer at İstanbul's Boğaziçi University, stated that Turkish foreign policy is facing a deadlock in the Middle East, adding that Turkey has been acting ideologically and emotionally in foreign policy. “The US was cautious on not terming the military intervention in Egypt a ‘coup' because it was aware of the implications of such a move. If the US accepts that there is a coup in Egypt, then it should cut of its financial aid to the country. However, Turkey has called the military intervention a ‘coup' but is also not downgrading its diplomatic ties. This is contradictory,” said Çalışkan to Today's Zaman.

It is also a matter of question what would be the fate of a $2 billion loan that Turkey agreed last September to provide to Egypt. Under the Turkish agreement, announced last September during a visit to Ankara by Morsi, Turkey's Treasury has already loaned Egypt the first $1 billion.
According to a Reuters report in April, Turkey's Eximbank was set to deliver the remaining $1 billion within two months.
While the first half of the package was in the form of a loan, the second half was to be in the form of investments in Turkish companies in Egypt and partnerships in infrastructure projects, the report said.
When asked whether Turkey would provide the remaining $1 billion, the same diplomat replied that Eximbank's procedures were still ongoing, adding that it remains unclear at what stage the loan is at.

Deputy PM Arınç: Turkey ‘alone but proud' in stance on Egypt coup

On Monday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has also stated that Turkey has no plan to impose sanctions on Egypt.

"It is out of question to impose sanctions on the government which thinks that they have taken over the power," Arınç told reporters in Ankara at a press conference after a Cabinet meeting on Monday.
After strong condemnation of the military intervention, which is viewed as a clear coup against democratic institutions by Ankara, Arınç said Turkey will continue to maintain its "principled and ethics-based" stance regarding the unfolding crisis in Egypt.
“We strongly condemn a mentality that topples a legitimate government and a president, and points a gun at its own people,” Arınç added.
Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is “sad but proud” to see that it is alone in the world in taking a clear attitude against the coup in Egypt, noted Arınç.

“Considering our previous statements embracing all democratic values, we are sad to see that we are alone. Turkey is the only country, and the AK Party is the only government [in its stance against the coup in Egypt], but we are also proud to see that we are the only [government] that voices the truth,” Arınç added.

Turkey has found itself alone in strongly condemning the Egyptian army's ouster of Morsi as a coup d'état and in calling on the Egyptian military to restore the democratically elected government.
Arınç also slammed what he called a “mentality that fires on its own people." Addressing the deep-rooted and historic ties between Turkey and Egypt, Arınç said Turkey will maintain solidarity with the Egyptian people and elected President Morsi.

Touching upon the issue of Turkish citizens in Egypt, Arınç underlined that Turkey would evacuate them from Egypt if necessary.

The Turkish deputy prime minister also mentioned that there were nearly 8,000 Turkish citizens in Egypt, according to official records, adding that this number might be higher considering that some citizens might not have informed the Turkish Embassy in Egypt about their visit.
Some 5,500 of these people are in Cairo, and around 400 Turkish students are currently in the country studying Arabic.

Also commenting on the coup's impact on economic ties and Egypt's economy, Arınç said there many Turkish companies operating in the country, employing nearly 50,000 Egyptians.
Any negative impact on a company's financial outlook also means damage to the country's economy, Arınç stated.

An ongoing political impasse in Egypt has already started taking its toll on Turkish trade with the country.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Ministry of Customs and Trade declared that there are no vehicles or ships waiting at the ports of İskenderun and Mersin to travel Egypt by roll on-roll off (Ro-Ro) ferries.

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