Erdogan to visit Egypt on September 12 to discuss strengthening military and diplomatic ties; move comes as Israel-Turkey diplomatic crisis deepens.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyep Erdogan is set to visit Egypt next week in order to discuss a strategic cooperation agreement between the two countries, the Egyptian daily Al-Shorouq reported on Sunday.
Erdogan is scheduled to meet with the Egyptian prime minister and the head of the Egyptian military council on September 12 to discuss increased diplomatic and military cooperation, and overall improvement of ties between Turkey and Egypt.
The two are due to sign a strategic cooperation agreement concerning military, diplomatic, and economic issues.
The moves comes as the crisis in Israel-Turkey relations deepened after the UN-commissioned report on the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid was leaked to the New York Times, foiling a last-ditch effort to patch up relations between the two countries.
Meanwhile, following the expulsion of the Israeli envoy from Turkey, Egyptians called on their government to follow in Turkey’s footsteps, Al Jazeera reported on Sunday, and expel the Israeli envoy in Cairo, as well as alter the Camp David Accords to allow more Egyptian forces in the Sinai Peninsula.
On Friday morning, Turkey announced a series of measures against Israel, beginning with the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and the downgrading of bilateral relations to the level of second secretary.
Another step announced by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu could lead to a military confrontation with Israel. “Turkey would take every precaution it deems necessary for the safety of maritime navigation in the eastern Mediterranean,” Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News quoted him as saying Friday. The paper reported that Turkey’s navy would escort civilian vessels carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and would guarantee free navigation in the zone between Israel and Cyprus.
Over the weekend senior Turkish officials claimed that Israeli government figures engineered the leak as part of what they termed an Israeli disinformation campaign being waged in connection to the UN report. The Turkish sources believe that Israeli cabinet members who oppose issuing an apology to Turkey, such as Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon, or even officials in the Prime Minister’s Bureau, leaked the report to the Times in order to prevent any additional postponement of its publication.