Business forum calls for improved Egypt-Turkey ties

Delegation of Turkish entrepreneurs go to Cairo for attending one-day joint business forum

A Turkish business delegation arrived in Cairo on Sunday to attend the one-day forum, which was organized by the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC).

Addressing the forum, Rifat Hisarciklioglu, president of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), voiced his hope for improved relations between Ankara and Cairo.

“The visiting delegation includes Turkish businessmen willing to invest in Egypt,” he said, adding that Turkish businessmen considered Egypt a viable trade partner.

“We want to increase [Turkish] investment and exports to Egypt and the world,” he said.

According to Hisarciklioglu, the number of Turkish firms operating in Egypt has increased over the past 15 years, while overall Turkish investment in the country has grown to a current $5 billion.

“This has helped create some 60,000 job opportunities for Egyptians,” he said.

FEDCOC Chairman Ahmed al-Wakeel, for his part, said members of the Turkish delegation hoped to channel investment into different sectors of Egypt’s economy.

“Egypt will remain Turkey’s gateway to Africa, while Turkey is Egypt’s window to Eastern Europe and Central Asia,” he said.

Al-Wakeel went on to note that political turmoil in Egypt since 2011, when a popular uprising unseated autocratic President Hosni Mubarak, had stalled feasibility studies for several projects in Egypt planned by Turkish firms.

“These files are now being reopened with the achievement of political and security stability [in Egypt],” he said.

Egyptian-Turkish relations deteriorated sharply after the Egyptian army ousted elected President Mohamed Morsi, a member of Egypt’s now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group, in 2013.

Turkey has been critical of Morsi’s ouster, describing his overthrow as a military coup.

Last August, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Turkey looked forward to repairing its relations with Egypt.

However, the appointment of Binali Yildirim — a close ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — as prime minister in May, 2016 has signified a more conciliatory approach to foreign policy.

“We will keep on increasing our friendships by observing the interests of our region and our country,” Yildirim said in a meeting with members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) party.