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Egypt FM visits Turkey amid Ankara-Cairo thawing ties

Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shoukry arrived in Turkey on Monday to show solidarity with the quake-hit country, in the first high-level visit from Egypt since relations between Ankara and Cairo started to improve after years of friction.

Shoukry travelled to the southern Turkish city of Mersin from Syria – part of a two-legged trip seeking to convey Egypt’s solidarity with the earthquake-stricken populations.

Turkey in recent years abandoned its critical approach to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi’s government, as it tried to repair the frayed ties. In November, Erdogan and Sisi were photographed shaking hands during the World Cup in Qatar.

Egypt’s neighbour Libya remains a point of conflict between the two governments, with each backing rival administrations that divide the country’s east and west.

“What is important for us is to bring the relationships back to the old level and to take them very far in the interests of both countries in accordance with their common interest,” Shoukry told reporters, during a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu.

The two stood in front of an Egyptian aid ship that docked at the port of Mersin. Cairo has sent numerous consignments of aid to Turkey since the earthquake struck on 6 February, killing tens of thousands in Turkey and Syria.

“Friendship and brotherhood become apparent during times of difficulties and the Egyptian state and people have shown that they are the Turkish people’s friends and brothers during these difficult times,” Cavusoglu said.

The Turkish minister continued: “We are opening a new page in our relations. The development of ties between Turkey and Egypt is to both countries’ benefit.”

The massive earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria has killed more than 50,000 people in both countries and led to the collapse or serious damage of 173,000 buildings in Turkey.

On Monday, another earthquake shook southern Turkey, causing some already damaged buildings to collapse and killing at least one person.

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