Suez Canal: Turkey Offers Helping Hand to Egypt
Turkey on Friday offered Egypt to send a tug to tow an immobilized container ship that has been blocking the Suez Canal for several days, the latest sign of Ankara’s charm offensive against Cairo after years of crisis .
“We offered to help them and if they respond favorably, then we will send help,” Turkish Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu said, quoted by the state news agency Anadolu.
“Our vessel (tug) Nene Hatun is one of the few machines in the world capable of successfully carrying out an operation of this magnitude (…) Our teams are ready. If a request for help reaches us, we will do what is necessary ”, he added.
The Suez Canal has been blocked since Tuesday by a container ship 400 meters long and weighing 220,000 tonnes which has come to rest across this crucial route for international maritime transport.
The incident resulted in massive traffic jams, with dozens of ships stranded at both ends and in the waiting area in the middle of the canal, and significant delays in deliveries of oil and other products.
The company commissioned to dislodge the stranded vessel warned that resuming traffic on the canal could take “days, even weeks”.
Turkey’s aid offer comes as Ankara struggles to calm its relations with Cairo, which have been greatly strained since the 2013 overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi backed by Turkish leader Recep. Tayyip Erdogan.
“We have not yet received a response,” Karaismailoglu said.