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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan traveled to the United Arab Emirates on Monday for his first official visit to the wealthy Gulf monarchy in more than a decade. A journey that sanctifies the rapprochement between the two former rivals. The two countries have announced the signing of several agreements.
The United Arab Emirates and Turkey announced on Monday February 14, during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s first visit to this wealthy Gulf monarchy in ten years, that they have signed several agreements that solidify the rapprochement between two former rivals.
The two-day visit, Erdogan’s first visit to the Emirates as President, was marked by the signing of 13 cooperation agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoUs), according to the official Emirati news agency WAM. An announcement confirmed by Turkey’s Anadolu agency.
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Turkey’s President Erdogan’s visit follows that of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and de facto ruler of the Emirates, Mohammed bin Zayed, in November. He then announced the creation of a nearly €9 billion fund to support investments in Turkey amid a severe economic crisis.
According to WAM, the signed agreements relate to the “health and medical sciences, advanced industries and technologies, climate, culture, agriculture, transport, crisis and disaster management, meteorology and media” sectors. According to the same source, a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between defense industries has been signed.
Abu Dhabi has until recently harbored great hostility towards Ankara, accusing it of supporting political Islam and its opposition on various issues in the Middle East.
In Dubai, the tallest tower in the world, the Burj Khalifa, shone in the colors of the Emirati and Turkish flags on the occasion of Erdogan’s visit, who was last in the Emirates in 2013. He was Prime Minister at the time.
WAM reported earlier in the day that Erdogan and Mohammed bin Zayed discussed opportunities for cooperation and touched on the latest regional developments.
According to statements by Emirati Economy Minister Abdallah bin Touq Al-Marri, reported by Anadolu Agency on Monday, cooperation between the two countries is part of a “shared vision” with Ankara in many areas.
“The dialogue and cooperation between Turkey and the Emirates are important for the peace and stability of the entire region,” Erdogan said before leaving Turkey.
Abu Dhabi hopes to double or even triple the volume of trade with Turkey, which is seen as a route to new markets.
The bilateral trade volume in the first half of 2021 amounted to more than 6.3 billion euros, according to WAM, with a growth leap of 100% compared to the same period in 2020.
Emirates investments in Turkey at the end of 2020 amounted to almost 4.4 billion euros. According to the Emirati agency, Turkish investments in the Emirates weigh around 312 million euros.
“What is needed going forward is not the strengthening of the already strong trade ties, but rather the strategic political partnership between the two countries,” tweeted Emirati political science professor Abdul Khaleq Abdallah.
clean up relationships
The Emirates face a growing threat from Yemeni Houthi rebels backed by Iran. Three people were killed in Abu Dhabi in mid-January in a drone and missile attack by insurgents in the Emirates, part of a military coalition supporting the Yemeni government.
A diplomatic crisis triggered in June 2017 between Qatar, a close ally of Turkey, and the Emirates strained relations between Ankara and Abu Dhabi at the time.
After reconciliation with Qatari neighbors in January 2021, the Emirates, whose economy is suffering from volatility in oil prices and the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, are seeking to calm ties with major regional rival Iran, its Saudi ally.
They also normalized their diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020, paving the way for several deals.
Turkey is trying to mend its ties in the region at a time when its currency is in freefall.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced plans to travel to Saudi Arabia in February, in what would be his first visit to the kingdom since the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at his country’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
Ankara has repeatedly claimed that the Saudi authorities were involved in the murder “at the highest level”.