World Turkey says better ties with Cairo could boost Libya peace efforts
Officials: Biden preparing to recognize Armenian genocide at hands of Ottoman Turks
The anticipated move could further complicate an already tense relationship with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Administration officials had not informed Turkey as of Wednesday, and Biden could still change his mind, according to one official. The U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. © Evan Vucci, AP President Joe Biden walks off after speaking about COVID-19 vaccinations at the White House on April 21, 2021, in Washington.
By Dominic Evans and Orhan Coskun
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish talks with Egypt next week could forge renewed cooperation between the estranged regional powers and help efforts to end the war in Libya, President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman said.
Relations have been strained since Egypt's army toppled a democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood president close to Turkey in 2013 in what Ankara said was a military coup.
Recently, however, Turkey has begun working to rebuild ties with Egypt and Gulf Arab states, trying to overcome differences which have left Ankara increasingly isolated in the Arab world.
What's behind Armenians' long battle to secure a U.S. designation of genocide?
A prospective U.S. designation of Armenian genocide is bitterly opposed by Turkey but supported by many members of Congress.This far-reaching yet deeply intimate trauma has echoed down through the generations, including in the large Armenian diaspora in Southern California. As is done every year, Saturday will be solemnly observed in Armenia and by the diaspora around the world as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.
Intelligence chiefs as well as foreign ministers of both countries have been in contact, and a Turkish diplomatic mission will visit Egypt in early May, Erdogan's spokesman and adviser Ibrahim Kalin told Reuters in an interview.
"Given the realities on the ground I think it's in the interests of both countries and the region to normalise relations with Egypt," he said.
In a gesture to Cairo last month, Turkey asked Egyptian opposition television channels operating on its territory to moderate criticism of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, the former military chief who toppled Morsi.
Egypt welcomed the move but has been publicly cautious about Turkish calls for better ties between the two countries which have also supported rival sides in Libya's conflict.
Biden's Armenian genocide recognition ramps up US-Turkey tensions
President Biden's decision to recognize the Armenian genocide is being welcomed by the community and its supporters as a long-overdue step in standing up for human rights, though the move carries with it risks to the U.S. relationship with Turkey.Biden's announcement follows through on a campaign promise to use the Oval Office to formally acknowledge the systematic deportation and killing in the early 20th century of almost 2 million Armenians and other minorities at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, which is present-day Turkey.
"Rapprochement with Egypt...will certainly help the security situation in Libya because we fully understand that Egypt has a long border with Libya and that may sometimes pose a security threat for Egypt," Kalin said.
He said Turkey would discuss security in Libya, where a United Nations-backed transitional government took over last month, with Egypt and other countries.
But despite a U.N. call for all foreign forces to leave the country, he indicated that Turkish military officers and allied Syrian fighters would be staying.
"We have an agreement that is still holding there with the Libyan government," he said, refering to a 2019 accord which paved the way for decisive Turkish intervention in support of the Tripoli-based government.
SHADOW OF KHASHOGGI
Alongside its Egypt initiative, Turkey has sought to improve ties with Gulf Arab heavyweight Saudi Arabia, which were thrown into crisis by the 2018 killing in Istanbul of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by a Saudi hit squad.
Turkey summons US Ambassador over genocide announcement
ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s foreign ministry has summoned the U.S. Ambassador in Ankara to protest the U.S. decision to mark the deportation and killing of Armenians during the Ottoman Empire as “genocide.” Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal met with David Satterfield late Saturday to express Ankara’a strong condemnation. “The statement does not have legal ground in terms of international law and has hurt the Turkish people, opening a wound that’s hard to fix in our relations,” the ministry said. On Saturday, U.S. President Joe Biden followed through on a campaign promise to recognize the events that began in 1915 and killed an estimated 1.
Last year Saudi businessmen endorsed an unofficial boycott of Turkish goods in response to what they called hostility from Ankara, which has slashed the value of trade by 98%.
"We will seek ways to repair the relationship with a more positive agenda with Saudi Arabia as well," Kalin said, adding that he hoped the boycott could be lifted.
In a marked change of tone, he welcomed the trial in Saudi Arabia which last year jailed eight people for between seven and 20 years for Khashoggi's murder.
At the time Ankara said the verdict fell short of expectations and urged Saudi authorities to cooperate with Turkey where a trial in absentia of 20 Saudi officials is taking place - though only three sessions have been held since July.
Erdogan said in 2018 that the order to kill Khashoggi came from the "highest levels" of the Saudi government, and a U.S. intelligence assessment released in February this year found Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had approved the killing - a charge Saudi Arabia rejects.
"They had a court. Trials have been held," Kalin said. "They made a decision so we respect that decision."
(Editing by Angus MacSwan)
Italian prosecutors ask judge to try Egyptian officers over Regeni murder .
Italian prosecutors ask judge to try Egyptian officers over Regeni murderROME (Reuters) - Italian prosecutors asked a judge on Thursday to have four senior members of Egypt's security services sent for trial over their suspected role in the disappearance and murder of student Giulio Regeni in Cairo in 2016.