Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Egypt Considers Excluding Turkish Companies from Public Tenders

Egypt Considers Excluding Turkish Companies from Public Tenders

Sunday, 6 January, 2019 - 12:45
People shop at al-Ataba, a popular market in downtown Cairo, Egypt (File Photo: Reuters)
Cairo - Mohammed Nabil Helmi
The Egyptian parliament is considering a request submitted by one of its members that asks the government to exclude Turkish companies from "entering into tenders related to sensitive sectors in the country."

MP Ibrahim Hijazi, who submitted the request, told Asharq Al-Awsat that his move comes to "protect Egypt's national security."

Hijazi received information that almost half of the tenders that are taking place on the installation of pipelines for oil and natural gas in the Mediterranean were obtained by Turkish companies.

Cairo and Ankara have reduced their diplomatic ties since 2013 following a statement by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against the June 30 revolution that toppled former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi after widespread popular protests.

Erdogan’s statements back then were considered “hostile” by Egyptian authorities, after which it expelled the Turkish ambassador.

Turkey’s ambitions in the Middle East have increased, especially after the discoveries of natural gas in Mediterranean’s eastern region, in addition to its support to members of banned terrorist groups.

In February 2018, Egypt and Turkey elevated their public disputes over the rights of the parties to explore for gas and other natural resources in its waters. In recent months, Cairo conducted training for marine explorations and marine economic objectives.

In February, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the Greek newspaper Kathimerini that it’s his country’s sovereign right to search for and to exploit these resources.

“Therefore, we plan to launch our drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean in the near future.”

He noted that Turkey has submitted to the UN its objection to the Egyptian-Greek Cypriot agreement of 2003 regarding to the “Delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone.

Egypt defended its agreement with Cyprus, saying no party can dispute its legality, as it is consistent with the rules of international law and had deposited as an international convention in the United Nations.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry warned that any attempt to infringe or diminish Egypt's sovereign rights in that area is rejected and will be confronted.

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