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Egyptian-Turkish trade: A love-hate relationship

Egyptian-Turkish trade: A love-hate relationship

CAIRO — In many instances, international trade and politics go hand in hand, with strong political ties often leading to stable or thriving trade and exchange between countries. Such, however, is not the case when it comes to Egypt and Turkey, whose political relationship is icy at best but who are bound by a mutually beneficial free trade agreement (FTA), which is set to expire in 2020.

In 2018, Egypt and Turkey set a record for bilateral trade between them, with Turkish exports to Egypt totaling $3.05 billion, an increase of 29.4% compared to in 2017, and Egyptian exports to Turkey amounting to $2.19 billion, an increase of 9.68% for the same time period. Yet, the Egyptian-Turkish FTA, signed in December 2005 and entered into force on March 1, 2007, faces possible suspension amid the apathy prevailing between Ankara and Cairo.

Turkey under the Islamist leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has provided safe haven for Muslim Brotherhood leaders who fled Egypt after the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in popular protests later found to have been supported by the Egyptian armed forces, the former home of Egypt’s current president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Erdogan has vehemently condemned Morsi’s toppling as a coup d’etat against an elected president.

“The tense political relationship between the two countries is a result of a personal [grudge] by Erdogan against Sisi,” said Karam Saeid, a researcher in Turkish affairs at the Al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies.

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