Egypt VS Turkey – From the Ottoman Times to the Zohr Field

A very good article from Washington Institute, the American think, about the hatred between the Egyptians and the Turks over the centuries. The article begins from the Ottoman Empire, when Egypt was an Ottoman colony fighting for her independence, then it goes to the Cold War, when Egypt was a Soviet ally and Turkey a NATO member, and then to the US-Egypt alliance in the mid 70s, which did not bring Egypt and Turkey closer. On the contrary, Egypt was supporting Cyprus in the Cypriot-Turkish rivalry, and Turkey was supporting Israel in the Egyptian-Israeli rivalry.

Map 1

Egytp Turkey.JPG

The article also refers to the Arab Spring and the present times, and the hatred between the Turkish Islamist leader Tayip Erdogan and the socialist Egyptian leader Abdel Sisi. The Turkish President supported the Egyptian Islamists, who were overturn by the Egyptian socialists led by Sisi.

Then there is the civil war in Libya, with Egypt supporting the internationally recognized government of Tobruk at the East, and Turkey unofficially recognizing the Islamist government of Tripoli at the West, by not recognizing the Torbuk government. The Egyptians bomb ISIS in Libya, infuriating the Turks, and the Turks supply with arms the Islamist government of Tripoli, and maybe ISIS too.

Map 2


I must also say that Turkey and Egypt are competitors by geography, since these two countries have controlled from the ancient times the two most important Silk Roads, i.e. the trade routes that connect Asia and Europe.

Map 3

Egytp Turkey

I must also say that the discovery of the Zohr field in the Egyptian waters, in August 2015, might improve or deteriorate the relations between the two countries. If Egypt wants to export her gas, it is only Turkey and Europe that can absorb large quantities. If Egypt and Turkey reach an agreement, and Turkey imports Egyptian natural gas, the relations between the two countries will improve. If Egypt decides to export its gas to Europe, bypassing Turkey and the neo-Ottoman doctrine promoted by Erdogan and Davutoglu, the relations between the two countries will further deteriorate.

For the article see:

“Turkey and Egypt’s Great Game in the Middle East”, February 2016


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s