Ahead of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s planned visit to Cairo on February 14, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan announced that Egypt would purchase armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UCAVs) from Turkey, raising questions about Egypt’s motivation for purchasing UCAVs.
Experts interpreted this agreement as a sign of the revival of relations between the two countries, especially with the normalization process moving forward.
Fidan said on Sunday that the normalization process is largely complete and that these relations are critical for regional security and trade. He also said that there is a need for serious cooperation with Egypt and that they have agreed on the delivery of UCAVs.
Erdogan’s visit to Cairo will be the first since diplomatic relations were upgraded to ambassadorial level last year after a decade-long rupture.
Fidan also said that Erdogan will discuss various issues with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, including trade, energy and security.
Egyptian-Turkish relations were disrupted and strained after Ankara’s 30 June 2013 revolution over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood. However, there has been a growing trend of normalization in recent months.
The two countries announced the upgrade of diplomatic relations to embassy level in July and the presidents of the two countries met last year. There have also been many meetings between ministers and officials.
Turkey’s delivery of UCAVs to Egypt is considered a new indicator of the normalization of relations, especially in the military field.
Egyptian military expert Major General Samir Farag stressed that the importance of UCAVs has increased recently, and that accepting Turkey’s offer in this field contributes to diversifying Egypt’s weapons resources.
While no official response to the deal has yet been received, the Egyptian military showcased its UAV fleet at the EDEX Defense Industry Exhibition in December.
In addition to Turkey, Egypt is also receiving weapons from France, Russia and other countries, indicating an ongoing process of modernization of the Egyptian army.
Egyptian experts believe that this rapprochement in Turkish-Egyptian relations could boost economic and military cooperation and offer opportunities to work together to address regional challenges.