(Bloomberg) -- Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he will meet with Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi after the two leaders exchanged a handshake earlier this month at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
“The process with Egypt has started,” Erdogan said in a recorded interview, according to Haberturk TV Sunday. “After minister-level talks, we will get together.”
Egypt and Turkey have had frosty relations for much of the past decade after a 2013 military-backed uprising in the North African nation ousted an Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi, who’d been favored by Ankara. The two Middle Eastern powers were also on opposite sides of a conflict in Libya that ended with an uneasy 2020 cease-fire.
A photograph of the two presidents’ encounter in Doha, billed as their first-ever meeting, was shared by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency on Nov. 20. The handshake took place in the wake of sporadic talks and efforts to improve relations amid a broader push to bridge divides in the region as the US draws back.
Erdogan revealed for the first time that he spoke with Sisi for about 30 to 45 minutes during their Doha encounter and “both sides were happy with the meeting.”
“If relations with Egypt are back on track, we can do the same with Syria,” Erdogan said, signaling an openness toward meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
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