Turkey offers to help Egypt with Suez Canal ship
A Taiwan-owned MV Ever Given (Evergreen), a 400-metre-long and 59-metre wide vessel, lodged sideways and impeding all traffic across the waterway of Egypt's Suez Canal. AFP
Turkey on Friday offered to send a tugboat to help Egypt free a giant ship blocking the Suez Canal, as it pressed on with its bid to mend ties with regional rivals.
Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu said Turkey's Nene Hatun ship was "one of the few machines in the world capable of carrying out an operation of this magnitude".
"We offered to help them and if they respond favourably, we will send help," the Anadolu state news agency quoted Karaismailoglu as saying. Tugboats and dredgers were working on Friday to refloat the massive container ship, although salvage experts warn that the shutdown of one of the world's busiest shipping lanes could last days or even weeks.
Turkey's offer comes as Ankara seeks to normalise relations with Cairo, which broke off following the 2013 overthrow of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was strongly backed by Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Ankara this month said it had established diplomatic contacts with Egypt for the first time since Morsi's ouster, although officials in Cairo say they are still waiting for "real change" in Turkey's policies before fully normalising relations. The two countries' disputes include the nearly decade-long war in Libya, which is now unwinding and where they backed opposing sides.