Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan aka MBZ was welcomed with savior honors by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Wednesday, opening a new chapter in relations between yesterday’s regional rivals. The prince announced a fund of 10 billion dollars (almost 9 billion euros) in the evening.to support investments in Turkey‘ according to the official Wam news agency.
This first meeting since 2012, aimed at ironing out the many differences between the two leaders who seek a regional role, came at the right time – even if it had been prepared since the summer – the day after a new historic plunge in the Turkish lira. The national currency has lost more than 40% against the dollar since the beginning of the year and inflation is near 20%.
“A Natural Partner”
As a sign of the high hopes raised by this visit, the first of its kind in Turkey since 2012, all Turkish news channels are live broadcasting MBZ’s first steps on the ceremonial blue carpet. They did the same thing at the end of the day, without a word from the two leaders, who appeared to have signed several agreements and contracts, the contents of which were not disclosed.
“The main purpose of this visit is to expand trade and economic partnerships through profitable investments.Emirati Minister of Industry and Advanced Technologies Sultan al-Jaber told local broadcaster TRT Haber. Turkey is”a natural partnerfrom Abu Dhabi, he insisted. Of course, but often irritated since the strategic differences between the two capitals are numerous, as in the Libyan file (each supporting an opposing camp) or in the Eastern Mediterranean (the Emirates have sided with Greece and Cyprus).
This meeting at the top must also make it possible to repair the relationship.between two big players who want to assert themselves in the region», says Hasni Adibi, Professor of International Relations at the University of Geneva and Director of the Center for Studies and Research on the Arab and Mediterranean World (CERMAM). Reasons for anger have accumulated over the years, particularly since the failed coup in July 2016, when President Erdogan accused MBZ of being one of the instigators, calling him “Turkey’s worst enemy“.
Relations deteriorated further in 2017 during the Saudi-imposed blockade of Qatar, a close ally of Ankara, followed by the Emirates. But President Erdogan, whom his repeated blows have eventually isolated on the international stage, is now trying to align with regional powers, even competitors. And the two countries also know they are no longer on trial in Washington, much less so than under Donald Trump’s presidency, Hasni Adibi notes.