Now that all of Erdogan's attention is focused on Karabakh, a solid anti-Turkish front has formed in his rear.
Egyptian President field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi paid a visit to Greece on Wednesday at the invitation of his counterpart Katerina Sakellaropolou. This was al-Sisi's first official visit to Greece, although a strong Alliance between the two countries was formed five or six years ago–shortly after the field Marshal seized power in Egypt in a coup. On the agenda of al-Sisi's talks with Sakellaropolou, as well as with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, was a common struggle with neighboring Turkey.
Erdogan is preparing for war
Before the conversation began, Sakellaropolu warned that she intended to discuss "the escalation of Turkish aggressive actions and offenses"with the Egyptian President. In turn, the Egyptian guest confirmed that in the issue of "territorial disputes and provocations" in the Eastern Mediterranean, he is on the side of Greece. It's funny that words like "Turkey", and even more so" Erdogan", were not mentioned in al-Sisi's official speeches, but they were clearly implied.
"We discussed the events in our region and the conduct of some policies that contradict the international community, and we agreed to jointly fight all those who want to threaten the world. We also agreed to strengthen defense relations, " Al-Sisi said after the talks.
Mitsotakis finally expressed his gratitude to his interlocutor "for the important role of Egypt as a beacon of moderate, true Islam." "Especially in times like today, when certain forces are trying to bet on religiosity," the Greek Prime Minister said.
As you know, the leader of Egypt has long turned into a principled opponent of Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It has consistently resisted Turkey's expansion in all directions where possible — especially the conflict in neighboring Libya, where al-Sisi and Erdogan has waged a proxy war for several years. Turkey supplied weapons and military instructors to the government of Faiz Saraj, which was entrenched in Tripoli, and Egypt supplied the troops of field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who tried in vain to take Tripoli by storm for more than a year.
As for the Mediterranean sea, back in 2015, Egypt, Greece and Cyprus agreed for the first time on the delimitation of Maritime borders in the Mediterranean. A continuation of this deal is a new agreement on the partial demarcation of exclusive economic zones between the 26th and 28th meridians, which Greece and Egypt concluded three months ago. As Greek foreign Minister Nikos Dendias put it, this agreement allows you to send "in the trash" a Memorandum between Turkey and Libya on the division of a section of the Mediterranean sea near the Greek Islands of Crete, Karpathos and Rhodes. At the same time, the Egyptians and Greeks established an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the region, and Italy also joined this agreement.
Ankara then said that it does not recognize the Greek-Egyptian agreement, after which the military of both countries announced in late August to conduct maneuvers in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean sea, between Cyprus and Crete, which put the countries on the verge of military conflict, despite the fact that both of them remain members of NATO. Turkey then sent its research vessel Oruc Reis ("Oruc Reis"), accompanied by a group of warships for seismic exploration on the Greek shelf near the island of Kastelorizo. Just on the day of al-Sisi's visit, Turkey again announced that it was extending the oruc Reis seismic survey period until November 23.
"What is remarkable is that even seven years ago, when President Morsi, an ideological ally of Erdogan, ruled in Egypt, the Turks did not raise the issue of demarcation of Maritime borders in the Mediterranean," orientalist Viktor Nadein — Rayevsky, chief researcher at the Primakov IMEMO, told VZGLYAD. — The issue of dividing the water area was raised after-when large gas deposits were discovered first on the shelf of Israel, and then in Egypt. Then research began on the shelf of Cyprus. Turkey has previously signed the UN Convention on the law of the sea. According to which it has no rights to the zones of the Cyprus shelf, where now, however, the Turks are exploring for gas. These Islands have been inhabited by the Greeks for thousands of years, not the Turks."
"Greece has always, historically, shown great interest in Egypt. They have a significant volume of mutual trade. But, of course, the main factor that unites Greece and Egypt is the opposition to Turkey. A natural Alliance is being built — " Andrey Kortunov, an expert at the Russian international Affairs Council (RIAC), told VZGLYAD newspaper. — As you know, Athens has now escalated the conflict with Ankara, up to the threat of a military clash. The fact is that Turkey is increasing its activity in all azimuths and claims significant parts of the Eastern Mediterranean."
Ankara recently divided its waters by signing a Treaty with the Pro-Western government of Libya led by Faiz Saraj. "The agreement is alarming for almost all the neighbors in the region. For Greece, Cyprus and other countries, this situation is unacceptable. Egypt and Turkey also have extremely hostile relations, " Kortunov says. "At the same time, Athens has other important reasons to resist Turkey — such as the flow of illegal migrants who are constantly rushing to the European Union through the Greek border."
In any case, it seems that al-Sisi chose a good moment to strengthen the anti-Turkish front. In the United States, power already seems to be passing into the hands of Joseph Biden, who, as a presidential candidate, demanded to increase pressure on Ankara. On the other hand, Erdogan's main attention is now focused on Karabakh, where he is trying to achieve the status of a peacekeeper for his country in order to legalize the presence of his military in the disputed region.
At the same time, Erdogan's influence in Libya may also be beginning to wane. As an Egyptian diplomatic source previously told TASS, the head of the government of national accord, Faiz Saraj, recently visited Cairo on an unannounced visit. Although President al-Sisi himself is not known to have met with the Libyan guest, he was received by the Egyptian intelligence chief, Abbas Kamel. The focus was on the peace talks that Saraj has been holding with Haftar since the summer. Six months ago, it was impossible to imagine such a visit, as Egypt's allies, Haftar's troops, stormed Tripoli in an attempt to overthrow Saraj. According to the diplomat, politicians from Tripoli are now trying to resolve serious differences with Cairo, realizing its "influence on the settlement of the Libyan crisis".
as for Erdogan's ability to shake the situation inside Egypt itself through his fifth column, there is nothing left of it for a long time, experts remind.
"The Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) movement led by Morsi, having barely achieved power, quickly lost popularity. When the military overthrew Morsi, there was no mass protest. Since then, Turkey has practically no broad agents left in this Arab Republic, " the Turkologist explained to the VZGLYAD newspaper. The only idea that Erdogan can offer the people of Egypt is neo — Ottomanism, says the orientalist.
"But the Arabs do not want to hand over the leadership of their policy to Erdogan. Poverty in Egypt is off the scale, as always, but still the military administration conducts social programs aimed at protecting the most vulnerable segments of the people. And the ikhwans have nothing to offer but religious ecstasy, " the expert said.
According to Nadein-Rayevsky, the figure of al-Sisi today suits all ethno-religious communities in Egypt: in contrast to Erdogan, the field Marshal emphasizes the secular nature of his regime.