Turkish President Abdullah Gül met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak late last month to discuss bilateral relations and the Middle East peace process. In an e-mail interview, Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center, discusses Turkey-Egypt bilateral relations.
WPR: How would you characterize Turkish-Egyptian relations historically?
Paul Salem: For most of the 20th century, Egypt and Turkey were effectively part of different "regions." Until recently, Turkey was generally orientated toward the West -- with its inclusion in the NATO alliance -- and had fairly tense relations with the countries of the Arab East. Turkey was viewed suspiciously by the Egyptian-led Arab world, but relations improved after Egypt's peace treaty with Israel, as Turkey had strong relations with Israel in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.