Egypt-Turkey business ties may be sluggish but will not cease despite deteriorating political relations between the two countries, according to the Turkish chairperson of the Egyptian-Turkish Business Council.
“As Turkish and Egyptian business men and women, we know how to separate our ties from politics,” Zuhal Mansfield told Ahram Online on Sunday via e-mail.
Political links between Egypt and Turkey have worsened since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July amid mass popular protests against his rule.
On Saturday, Egypt announced it was downgrading its diplomatic relations with Ankara, and expelled the Turkish ambassador over Erdogan’s “provocative” criticism of Cairo, in the latest bout of escalation in tension between the two countries.
In return, Ankara declared the Egyptian ambassador “persona non grata” and downgraded diplomatic relations to the level of charge d’affaires.
According to Mansfield, the total volume of trade exchange between Cairo and Ankara stood at around $5.2 billion in December 2012, with a plan to double this figure by 2018.
“Currently, total Turkish investments in Egypt are worth some $1.9 billion and we are planning on raising this amount to $5 billion in the coming five years,” she deemed.
Mansfield highlighted the importance of business co-operation between both states, mentioning that there are around 320 Turkish companies currently operating in Egypt specialising in textiles, chemicals, garments and food, and employing 55,000 locals.
In 2012, Egypt was Turkey’s largest importer within Africa, as Turkish exports amounted to $3.7 billion, representing a 33.3 percent increase from 2011. However, Egyptian exports to Turkey were estimated at $1.7 billion in the same year, according to data from Turkey’s ministry of economy.