Turkey’s announcement that it had held its first official contact with the autocratic regime in Egypt earlier this month is Ankara’s message directed at the new regime in Washington.
On March 12, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying “We have had contacts both at the level of intelligence and foreign ministries with Egypt. Diplomatic-level contacts have started.”
Turkey cut ties with Egypt when the Western-backed general, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi overthrew the first-ever elected President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Since then, Egypt’s Islamic movement—the Muslim Brotherhood—has used Turkey as its political base in exile, with Ankara’s support, of course.
This arrangement assisted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to paint himself as a supposed key regional backer of Islamic movements battling Western-imposed dictators and the wider neo-colonial regional order.
The relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey failed to evolve into a strategic partnership with any tangible results.
The primary reason was Turkey’s membership of NATO and its leaders’ orientation towards the West-centric global order.
It was using the Muslim Brotherhood not as a strategic asset but as a bargaining chip.
Erdogan’s restoration of ties with the Egyptian autocrat is not the only submission of Ankara to the US-imposed political and security architecture in the region.
On March 15, Erdogan penned an Op-Ed that was published by Bloomberg News pleading with Western powers for support to bring an end to the war in Syria.
Turkey and NATO had helped ignite this war.
Erdogan’s letter is clear admission that his gamble to become the regional hegemon riding on America’s shoulders has failed.
NATO regimes used Turkey in Syria as a pawn and have now abandoned Erdogan with a huge geopolitical and security mess right on Turkey’s borders.
Ankara’s open change of policy towards Egypt’s Western-backed dictator is most likely an attempt to present some regional carrots to Washington in exchange for help in getting out of the Syrian fiasco.
The US and its allies realize that they have lost the war in Syria, politically and militarily.
NATO’s goal at the moment is to deny the people of the region an opportunity to build a socio-political order outside the West’s neo-colonial framework.
This is something that Turkey understands well and its plea for help in Syria along with its overtures to Egypt are signals to Washington that Ankara is willing to play ball with the West in Egypt if it is assisted in Syria.
This approach is lucrative to NATO regimes as it cuts their recent regional losses while allowing them to continue meddling in regional affairs.
The Egyptian response came through the semi-official pro-regime newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief.
As reported by middleeastmonitor.com, Al Watan’s editor put forward 10 unrealistic conditions for Turkey to meet prior to official negotiations.
While it is clear that these conditions will never be met fully, being a PR stunt, they provide a roadmap for Washington to facilitate a potential face-saving reconciliation between Egypt and Turkey.
In the long-term, the Turkish leadership’s overtures to Washington will cost Ankara the so-called anti-colonial credentials that it projects through rhetoric.
The latest developments also show that Erdogan has not learnt that increased Western interference in the region only brings more problems.
Ankara might, therefore, be setting itself up once again for another regional miscalculation for which the innocents of West Asia will ultimately pay the price.