Turkey, Egypt to defuse tensions to adjust new regional power balance: Prof. Bianchi

TEHRAN, Dec. 12 (MNA) –A professor of Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) says “Turkey and Egypt would like to defuse mutual tensions because both countries are trying to adjust to a rapidly changing balance of power in the Middle East that strongly favors Iran and Russia instead of Saudi Arabia and the United States.”

Robert R. Bianchi also told the Tehran Times that “Erdogan and El-Sisi would like to put aside their feud and focus on cultivating better ties with the Russian and Iranian power brokers who are likely to shape their futures.”

Following is the text of the interview:

The Turkish government sent its official message of condolence to El – Sisi after in occasion of the latest terrorist attack to thein Egyptian mosque despite of existing difficulties between the two states over theon Muslim Brotherhood that the is called by Egyptian government regards as a terrorist group. So, What is the reason behind of Turkey’s approach in this regard?

Turkey and Egypt would like to defuse mutual tensions because both countries are trying to adjust to a rapidly changing balance of power in the Middle East that strongly favors Iran and Russia instead of Saudi Arabia and the United States. Weakened regimes in Ankara and Cairo both fear losing influence in the region and over their own people. Turkey is alarmed by Egypt’s growing connections with its unfriendly neighbors, particularly Greece, Cyprus, and Russia. Meanwhile, Egypt feels increasingly encircled by long-term security threats in Sinai, Libya, Sudan, and Ethiopia. In this context, Erdoǧan and El-Sisi would like to put aside their feud and focus on cultivating better ties with the Russian and Iranian power brokers who are likely to shape their futures.

Some analysts believe that Turkey tries to create closerd relationship with Egypt in order to decrease pressures on the Muslim Brotherhood as mediator. What is your opinion?

Turkey can do very little to help Muslim Brotherhood prisoners in Egypt. El-Sisi has managed to gain grudging recognition from most foreign governments, including nearly all of Europe except for the United Kingdom. Turkey is belatedly trying to normalize its relations with Egypt so that it can move on to bigger issues in the Middle East, Africa, and Eurasia.

Could we interpret attempts of Turkey in this regard as attempts to prevent Cairo from getting closer more closed to Saudi Arabia?

A: Perhaps. Turkey and Egypt take opposing sides in the quarrels between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, but they are converging in support of a post-war Syria that leaves Assad in the picture. Egypt needs Saudi money to survive, especially while its tourism industry is crippled by fears of terrorism. The Turks can encourage Egypt to rely on a broader set of international donors, but Saudi Arabia will remain a key patron of Cairo despite ups and downs in their diplomatic relations. 

John Kerry, the former US foreign minister has stated recently that Egypt provoked Obama’s administration to attack Iran. What is the reason behind of such a provocation provoke?

Kerry noted that Saudi Arabia and Israel were the most outspoken proponents of war against Iran. Mubarak hedged his support and even admitted to Kerry that Egypt would denounce such an attack in public no matter what its leaders said privately. Kerry and Mubarak agreed that a nuclear-armed Iran would trigger the proliferation of nuclear weapons across the region. Both men believed diplomacy was the best way to deal with Iran and war was a last resort.

Saudi Arabia and Turkey are the two states who are scared of gettingconcerned about improving relations between Iran and– Egypt. relations improved. How do you evaluate the role of these states in ongoing continuation of hostilities between Iran and Egypt?

A: Turkey is far more confident and flexible than Saudi Arabia in modulating its relations with Iran and Egypt. For the Saudis, Iran is a mortal enemy; for the Turks, it is a potential partner in managing Middle Eastern states and brokering their ties with outside powers. Egypt is the weakest and most vulnerable of these nations, but its leaders are highly skilled at balance of power diplomacy in multipolar situations.

Interview by Javad Heirannia

News Code 130195

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