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Egypt’s Sisi, Turkey’s Erdogan Shake Hands at Qatar World Cup

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was photographed shaking hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the 2022 World Cup in Doha, Qatar.

Photographs have gone viral, particularly in Turkey, showing Sisi and Erdogan shaking hands and exchanging brief words as Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamed stood with them.

The Egyptian Presidency has not yet commented on the meeting of the two leaders, which comes amidst attempts to revive Cairo-Ankara relations.

The two countries have not seen eye-to-eye since 2013, when former Muslim Brotherhood-aligned president Mohammed Morsi was ousted.

Despite recent attempts, Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said in October that dialogue between the two countries to normalize ties had been halted as a result of Turkey’s continued “practices” in Libya.

Shoukry, in an interview with Al-Arabiya, pointed to the continued presence of “foreign forces” in Libya as an example of such practices.

Turkey supports the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity led by Abdel-Hamid Dbeibah, while Egypt, which borders Libya, believes Dbeibah’s government no longer has a mandate to rule the country.

Prior to Shoukry’s interview with Al-Arabiya, Turkey signed an energy deal with the Tripoli-based government, angering Egypt which supports the eastern-Libya based government of Fathi Bashagha.

In addition to the conflict in Libya, Turkey has long been seen by the Egyptians as a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. Designated as a terrorist organisation in Egypt, Egyptian authorities accused Turkey of harbouring extremists and terrorists and of providing the Muslim Brotherhood with media tools to incite violence in Egypt.

Whether the latest meeting of Sisi and Erdogan progresses attempts to repair relations between Cairo and Ankara remains to be seen.

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