An article from the Washington Institute on 17th July says that, despite apparent similarities, a deep-seated conflict between the 2 countries is currently playing out across the region, though they have consistently avoided direct confrontation or hostilities. Tensions between them have been escalating since the Arab Spring, and are in turn impacting the political situations of Libya, Sudan, and the Eastern Mediterranean. In addition to increasing the likelihood of more direct confrontation between the countries, Turkish-Egyptian conflict is also threatening the fragile stability of the Middle East, suggesting that an outside mediator is necessary to navigate this thorny issue. In Libya, the countries are effectively fighting a proxy war: Egypt is supporting Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), while Turkey is aiding his opponent, the Government of National Accord, with Egypt in turn accused the Government of National Accord of supporting extremist Islamist militias and providing them with political and military support. They are also said to be supporting opposing interests in Sudan. It also mentions that in November 2014, Egypt held a tripartite summit involving Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus (with the conspicuous absence of Turkey, which was also excluded from the subsequent Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum) about the maritime borders in the eastern Mediterranean and to examine the optimal use of promising natural gas prospects between the coasts of Cyprus and Egypt. The article says that the escalating pressure between the two regional players threatens to bring more turmoil to an already turbulent region. The authors say that the core issue driving the enmity stems from Turkish support for the Muslim Brotherhood and remains a problem unlikely to be solved through mediation. Egypt sees Erdogan’s party and the Muslim Brotherhood as essentially two sides of the same coin, while Erdogan sees Sisi’s coup as potentially capable of being replicated in Turkey, especially after the failed coup attempt in 2016.
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