Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (right) shakes hands with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Anatolia)

With Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan making his long-awaited visit to Cairo on February 14, it has become clear that a new era in Turkish-Egyptian relations has already begun. Although the two countries re-exchanged ambassadors in July last year after a decade-long crisis, Erdogan’s visit gained great importance, not only because it was his first to Egypt since the outbreak of the crisis, but because it practically launched the leaders’ diplomacy with Sisi, which caused... Its absence during the period of crisis deepens the political rift and prolongs its duration for a long period.

Given the effects that the crisis has had on the relations of the two countries, it will take some time to overcome it completely. Therefore, the transformations that have occurred in relations since the two countries began exploratory talks, leading to the re-exchange of ambassadors and high-level visits, can be included in the framework of establishing the new situation in relations.

At the Cairo Summit, Presidents Erdogan and Sisi laid out a road map for the new era in relations based on several tracks: raising the level of trade exchange to 15 billion US dollars annually, enhancing mutual investments, and cooperating on regional issues important to both sides.

The fact that Turkey and Egypt have the largest coastlines overlooking the Eastern Mediterranean makes cooperation between them a gateway to transforming the Eastern Mediterranean into a region of peace and broader regional cooperation. However, the complexities surrounding such cooperation will remain relevant in this context

The fact that economic and trade relations - as well as security and intelligence coordination - were not completely interrupted during the crisis era, largely explains how the areas of economic and military cooperation take the largest part of Turkish-Egyptian interest in the new era. However, the regional policies of the two countries will be the focus of great attention after reconciliation.

The reasons that prompted Ankara and Cairo to overcome the rift are multiple and vary between personal ones related to their need to focus on economic and trade benefits, and the advantages of bilateral cooperation in regional issues affecting them, and other regional reasons related to the new environment that has emerged in the Middle East since the beginning of this decade, which they have embarked on. The competing active forces in the region are trying to reset their relations, and shift from a policy of intense competition to reconciliation. However, the common denominator between all these factors is that they were formed as a result of the superiority of the logic of political realism in managing relations between these powers, including Turkey and Egypt.

Because the logic that dominated Ankara and Cairo’s approach to their relations during the crisis of the decade blatantly challenged this realism, the crisis gave way to its side effects to form a new geopolitical reality until 2020 that undermined the ability of Turkey and Egypt to cooperate in Libya and the eastern Mediterranean, which created an opportunity. Other competing powers have the opportunity to play a greater role in these two issues that goes beyond the limits of their influence and regional status.

While the political rift between Ankara and Cairo prevented them from harmonizing their interests in Libya during the past decade, in return, it created a margin for other powers to strengthen their presence in the Libyan scene, in a way that subtracted from the share of the Egyptian role in Libya, and created additional challenges for the Turkish role in this country.

The way that usually prompts major regional powers to think about the consequences of continuing the collision approach is that when this approach reaches a point close to the brink of the abyss, it forces them to recalculate. This method served as a strong motivation for Ankara and Cairo to change their approach to their role in Libya when their conflicting military support for the parties to the conflict in 2019 almost led to a direct military confrontation.

The dangers of the clash between Turkey and Egypt in Libya during that period can be seen as forming a radical turning point in the relations of the two countries from a crisis approach to calm, and an attempt to coexist with each other in Libya. This embodies the concept of geopolitical realism.

Given that Turkey and Egypt are two major regional powers, the logic of geopolitical realism served as a balancing point between competition and avoiding the risks of deviating from the rules imposed by this realism. The prevailing assumption after Erdogan’s visit to Cairo - and the messages he sent with Sisi about the two countries’ desire to cooperate in Libya - is that the new era in Turkish-Egyptian relations has moved the two countries’ policies in Libya to a level that helps them align their interests and advance efforts to end the Libyan division.

It is inconceivable that the obstacles facing bilateral cooperation in the Libyan file have completely ended, but the Turkish-Egyptian focus on the multiple commonalities of the two countries in Libya - most notably ending the conflict - creates an appropriate environment for both to begin the process of harmonizing interests.

At the level of the geopolitical conflict in the eastern Mediterranean, the Turkish-Egyptian crisis, which challenged the logic of geopolitical realism, not only undermined the ability of the two countries to try to harmonize their interests in this region, but also paved the way for other countries - such as Greece - to benefit from the Turkish-Egyptian estrangement. In order to strengthen its position in its conflict with Turkey, and to maximize its influence in the conflict equation in the Eastern Mediterranean, in contradiction to the logic of geopolitical realism.

The fact that Turkey and Egypt have the largest coastlines overlooking the eastern Mediterranean makes cooperation between them a gateway to transforming the eastern Mediterranean into a region of peace and broader regional cooperation. However, the complexities surrounding such cooperation will remain relevant in this context.

Even at a time when Cairo has begun to lean toward the idea of ​​cooperating with Ankara in the eastern Mediterranean equation, it will seek to balance its new relations with Turkey and its relationship with Greece, but this balance will increase in the future the chances of moving the geopolitical conflict in the eastern Mediterranean to a stage. Collective regional cooperation of the Basin countries.

Political realism - which made what seemed impossible during the last decade's crisis between Turkey and Egypt now become a reality - also embodies the pragmatism of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This pragmatism complemented political realism in moving Turkish-Egyptian relations to this new situation.

The wisdom behind pragmatism is that it pushes leaders to focus on their country's interests, even if it requires a radical shift in policy and abandoning what appear to be deeply held convictions.

This is exactly what Erdogan's pragmatism did in shifting from the rhetoric of sharp personal criticism of Sisi during the crisis era to the discourse of the leaders among themselves.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.