Egypt asks Israel to keep Turkey away from Gaza

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According to the Israeli “Haaretz” news website, Egypt urged Israel to explain about its recent improving relations with Turkey, particularly in ensuring Turkey’s role in Gaza. Egypt also asked Israel if they are determined to reduce Gaza blockade restrictions.

Some Israeli officials, who wished to remain unknown because of the political nature of this issue, believed the Egyptian government dissatisfaction is due to Israeli media reports in the past weeks.

According to these reports, agreements have been made in improving relations between Israel and Turkey. Meanwhile, Turkish media have also reported Israel has agreed to take important steps in declining naval blockade of Gaza.

In a meeting with Haim Koren Israel’s ambassador in Cairo, senior Egyptian state department official asked if reports are truly and Israel and Turkey are on the verge of improving their relations. The temporary charge d’affaires of the Egyptian embassy in Tel Aviv has delivered like messages in his recent meeting with Israeli Foreign ministry officials in Jerusalem. They say Egypt is against any concession granted by Israel to Turkey in Gaza.

Senior Israeli officials believe in the last two years, a wide gap has taken form in the relations between Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi the Egyptian president and Recep Tayyip Erdogan his Turkish counterpart and the cause of this gap being the Turkish government’s support of Mursi, the deposed president of Egypt and their support of the Muslim Brotherhood.

When Mursi was ousted with a coup Erdogan made harsh criticisms against the Egyptian government and said Sisi is not recognized as the legitimate president of Egypt. Following these statements, the Turkish ambassador in Egypt was expelled from the country in November 2013 and relations between the two countries reached a low level.

Turkey’s support for Hamas in Gaza is another cause of tension between Egypt and Turkey. Egypt has in fact completely blocked Gaza strip from the Sinai Peninsula and wants to pressure Hamas as much as possible. This country is concerned about any Israeli restrictions reduction in the Gaza strip and in particular the increasing involvement of Turkey in this region.

Erdogan has recently announced that as part of Israel/Turkey agreement negotiations they would like to directly send a ship to Gaza to supply electricity and construction materials needed for the region. He pointed out that Israel agrees to help Gaza through Turkey.

Also last week, Hurriyet Turkish newspaper reported that Turkey has asked Israel for an unfettered access to Gaza and according to the report, numerous officials have said that if Israel allows this to happen, Turkey will consider it as its condition for lifting Gaza siege.

A senior Israeli official said the crisis in Turkey Egypt relations is one of the factors making Israel’s relations with Turkey difficult. According to him, Benjamin Netanyahu is concerned that any concessions to Turkey in Gaza can tarnish Israel’s strategic ties with Egypt. He added that senior Israeli officials have tried to mediate between Egypt and Turkey to reduce tensions between them and reduce Egypt’s opposition to Turkish involvement in Gaza, but so far have had no achievements in this field.

The Foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon has confirmed that Egypt has asked the Zionist regime to explain its improving relations with Turkey. He said: Within the framework of our bilateral dialogues with Egypt, we also talked about Turkey. Egypt is interested to know what situation we are in now.

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