4 Mart 2011 Cuma
Turkey president meets with Egypt’s political players
Salma SHUKRALLAH Ahram Online
Gul's visit shows intention to craft special relations with Egypt after January 25 revolution.
In an attempt that seemed to aim at reshaping Turkish Egyptian relations after the January 25 revolution, Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, held a series of meetings on Sunday with a diverse range of Egypt’s political players.
In the morning Gul held a meeting with Egypt’s supreme council of the armed forces, Egypt’s current ruling body. In a statement directed at delegates of the revolution’s youth, which he met later on Sunday evening, he stressed his belief that the military is moving towards constitutional democracy.
Gul also met with opposition figures from the Muslim Brotherhood, Ghad, Wafd, Kifaya and the National Association for Change including Essam El-Erian, Mohamed Morsy, Mohamed Badei, Ayman Nour, El-Saied El-Badawy and George Isaac.
Potential presidential candidate and current secretary general of the Arab league, Amr Mousa, met with Gul at the residence of the Turkish ambassador. In addition, Gul invited figures from the business community.
A roundtable meeting was held with about 30 delegates from the revolution’s youth. In his speech to the youth, Gul explained that he was once also a political activist and joked that as a newlywed young man he spent his honeymoon in prison.
In answering a question regarding the possibility of a new regional reality based on a coalition between Turkey, Egypt, Iran and other Arab countries undergoing revolutionary change to thwart US and Israeli domination, Gul was keen to note that his gesture of “special friendship towards Egypt is meant to be underscored by both friends and enemies alike”, without specifying who the enemies or friends were.
Gul also stated during his discussion with the youth delegates that an offer of cancelling entry visas between the two countries will be proposed to the new Egyptian government when formed, a proposal refused under Mubarak’s regime.
Gul’s meetings and discussions displayed a clear Turkish intention and determination to craft special relations with Egypt, continuing previous attempts to forge a strong alliance with Egypt to reshape the region together with Iran.
Such attempts by Turkey were formerly rejected by the Mubarak regime. The Jan 25 revolution seems to have revived hopes of new regional alliances.
Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has previously described Mubarak’s resignation as a historical development for the Arab world and the region.
Many have argued that Egypt can learn from Turkey’s experience, as a relatively stable state with a secular constitution and a government led by former Islamists.