Between Turkey's realism and Europe's promises Does Egypt stand with the "right ally" in the eastern Mediterranean?

Between Turkey's realism and Europe's promises Does Egypt stand with the "right ally" in the eastern Mediterranean?

Cairo's regional policies have raised questions to observers about the Egyptian administration's motives in allying with Greece and managing southern Cyprus. This coincides with unremitting efforts made between Egypt and Turkey to restore and improve relations.

In recent months, the pace of Turkish-Egyptian efforts to restore relations and bring the two administrations closer together has escalated, and several exploratory talks between officials in Ankara and Cairo were followed by positive statements and mutual future aspirations.

However, the combination of the Egyptian foreign approach with an alliance with Greece and the administration of southern Cyprus angered Ankara, which, following the final statement of the Athens summit on Tuesday, urged Cairo to verify its regional alliances in the eastern Mediterranean.

What is the benefit to Egypt as a result of its regional alliance with Athens and Nicosia? And what awaits it if it makes a change in the map of its regional alliances?

The Ninth Athens Summit A Cautious Egyptian Approach
The Athens summit, which witnessed a meeting of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades in the Greek capital, is the ninth summit of its kind.

However, the Egyptian president seemed to be cautious in his speech during the summit, as observers point out that he avoided a direct attack on Ankara, with only an implicit hint of "Egypt's rejection of tensions in the region."

However, the joint statement issued by the summit included explicit criticism of Turkey, which prompted Ankara to issue a statement urging Cairo to search for "the real address with which it can cooperate in the eastern Mediterranean."

Analysts point out that the Egyptian approach, different from the idea of ​​an unconditional alliance with Athens and Nicosia, was more evident in the Egyptian presidency's failure to publish the joint statement issued by the summit, which was interpreted by analysts as Cairo's unwillingness to create any tension with Ankara in order to avoid a "widening gap" between it and the latter. At a time when the Egyptian and Turkish administrations reached an advanced stage of understanding and exploratory talks .

Followers pointed out that Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis shared, with the Egyptian and Cypriot presidents, some information about his country's recent contacts with Ankara in the context of seeking a political-diplomatic solution to the maritime border issue with Turkey, which Sisi clearly welcomed, according to an Egyptian diplomatic source who spoke to Al-Araby newspaper. The new .

Does Egypt stand with the "right ally"?
Several reports and analyzes talk that Egypt is not the biggest winner from its alliances in the eastern Mediterranean with Greece and Greek Cyprus, and the consequential agreement on the demarcation of the maritime borders . Rather, Egypt suffers “strategic and economic losses” as a result of aligning with that alliance.

This is due to the fact that one of the most prominent energy strategies recently adopted by the Egyptian administration is the transformation into a regional platform for the export of natural gas, as the huge “Zohr” field provides quantities of natural gas that can be exported abroad at competitive prices, in addition to Egypt owning the infrastructure represented in two Idku stations. and Damietta to liquefy natural gas, which gives Egypt the advantage and a head start in becoming the main regional platform for exporting gas to Europe in the future.

However, the East Med gas pipeline, through which Israel seeks to export gas to Europe via Cyprus, Greece and Italy, to reduce dependence on Russian gas, represents a direct threat to the Egyptian strategy in question.

Analysts point out that the "EastMed" line makes Turkey the closest ally to Egypt, as Cairo's interests are in line with the maritime border demarcation agreement between Turkey and Libya, to prevent that agreement from passing the line to Europe without the consent of the Turkish side, which means that Ankara can spare Cairo losses economic loss, loss of influence, and an important geopolitical role in the region.

This comes in addition to the fact that Egypt's agreement to demarcate its maritime borders with Greece in accordance with the vision and criteria of Athens includes Cairo's ceding a huge area of ​​the Egyptian exclusive economic zones and the huge water spaces in an area promising natural resources such as oil and natural gas.

Between Turkish Realism and European Promises
In the past few months, the Egyptian Turkish relations witnessed positive developments and a cautious rapprochement. The latest and most recent positive statements between the two countries came when Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stated earlier this month that "a measure of progress" has been achieved in relations with Turkey after the second round of exploratory consultations. He added that he "hopes to build on it," while the Turkish Foreign Ministry expressed the two countries' desire to "make progress on issues under discussion and normalize relations."

However, Ankara recently considered Egypt's continued alignment with Greece and the administration of southern Cyprus and its participation in the final statement of the ninth summit in Athens, which carried sharp and hostile messages toward Turkey, "an indication that the Egyptian administration has not yet realized the real address with which it can cooperate in the eastern Mediterranean."

According to observers, the Egyptian administration aims, through its rapprochement with Greece and its participation in the Athens summit, to obtain political and financial support, and to prevent any possible sanctions against the background of human rights and political files and the numerous European and international observations that are made from time to time on the practices pursued by the Egyptian administration.

Analysts of the human rights files consider it mere manipulation and an attempt to blackmail the Egyptian administration and drag it into alliances that do not bring it any benefit, rather incurring countless strategic and economic losses, while the "European promises" related to the human rights file remain unsecured and cannot adequately reassure the Egyptian administration.(TRT News)
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