Egypt, Turkey Renew Ties over Israel’s Looming Offensive on Rafah in Southern Gaza

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Egypt’s leader joined forces Wednesday in Cairo, calling for an end to Israel’s impending onslaught on a southern Gaza city in its fight against Hamas.

Erdogan’s visit comes at a time when relations between Ankara and Cairo are improving after years of tension and hostility.

Turkey has historically supported the pan-Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt considers a terrorist organization.

The Turkish president landed in Cairo for his first visit in over a decade, following a visit to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, when he met with UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Erdogan met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi at Cairo’s Ittihadiya palace, according to state-run media.

Their discussions centered on bilateral relations and regional concerns, including attempts to end the conflict in Gaza, el-Sissi later stated at a joint press conference.

“We agreed on the need for an immediate cease-fire (in Gaza) and the need to achieve calm in the West Bank” to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, with the ultimate objective of establishing an independent Palestinian state, el-Sissi stated.

The conflict in Gaza has reached a crucial stage, with an impending Israeli onslaught on the city of Rafah, located on the Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt, where around 1.4 million people — more than half of the territory’s population — are jammed into tent camps, overflowing apartments, and shelters.

During the press conference with el-Sissi, Erdogan encouraged Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to avoid a ground offensive in Rafah and accused the Israeli government of committing “massacres” in Gaza.

“Efforts to depopulate Gaza are not acceptable,” he told reporters.

Egypt is fearful that a ground attack on Rafah will result in hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians crossing the border and into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

It has threatened to suspend the country’s decades-long peace deal with Israel.

The battle began on October 7, when Hamas launched an assault on Israel, killing over 1,200 people, the majority of whom were civilians, and kidnapping approximately 250 more.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the total number of Palestinian deaths in Gaza has topped 28,000, and a fifth of the territory’s citizens are malnourished.

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