by Mumen KHATIB
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AFP) — Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday visited the United Arab Emirates for the primary time in practically a decade to revive relations that had been lengthy strained by regional disputes.
He was greeted within the capital Abu Dhabi by Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the UAE’s de facto ruler, who had travelled to Ankara in November on the primary high-level go to to Turkey since 2012.
That journey “marked the start of a brand new period in relations”, Erdogan mentioned at Istanbul airport earlier than leaving for his two-day go to. “We’re planning to take steps that can carry relations again to the extent they deserve.”
Ties had been strained as Turkey and the oil-rich Emirates backed opposing sides within the Libyan civil warfare, and sparred over points akin to gasoline exploration within the jap Mediterranean.
Relations had been significantly tense after Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain in 2017 lower all hyperlinks with Qatar, an in depth ally of Turkey. These relations had been restored in January 2021.
The Turkish president’s UAE go to is his first since 2013, when he was prime minister, and his first as head of state.
To greet Erdogan on his journey — which is able to take him to the Expo 2020 Dubai world truthful Tuesday — the host nation lit up the world’s tallest constructing, Burj Khalifa, within the crimson and white of the Turkish flag.
Erdogan and Sheikh Mohammed oversaw the signing of 13 cooperation agreements and memoranda of understanding, together with a letter of intent on cooperation within the defence industries, in accordance with the UAE’s official WAM information company.
Different areas of cooperation included well being, know-how, local weather motion and disaster and catastrophe administration, amongst others, the information company mentioned.
‘Shared imaginative and prescient’
The crown prince mentioned the UAE was eager to cooperate with Turkey “to confront a lot of frequent challenges that the area is witnessing” by way of dialogue and diplomatic resolve.
The UAE faces a rising risk from Yemen’s Iran-backed Huthi rebels, who’ve launched a number of drone and missile assaults on the Gulf nation, prompting it to step up defence cooperation with the US and France.
Erdogan, in a weekend op-ed within the Emirati English-language each day Khaleej Occasions, mentioned that “Turkey and the UAE collectively can contribute to regional peace, stability and prosperity”.
Following Sheikh Mohammed’s go to in November, the UAE introduced a $10 billion fund for investments in Turkey, the place the economic system has been reeling and inflation final month surged to a close to 20-year excessive.
Erdogan’s journey “will open a brand new, optimistic web page in bilateral relations”, Anwar Gargash, adviser to the UAE president, mentioned in a tweet.
UAE Economic system Minister Abdulla bin Touq Al-Marri mentioned his nation thought of financial cooperation in numerous areas, together with defence, an integral a part of its technique and imaginative and prescient of the longer term.
“I consider that this can be a imaginative and prescient shared by each the UAE and Turkey, and the UAE is eager to increase its partnership with Turkey in numerous important fields along with the defence sector,” he informed state information company Anadolu in remarks revealed Monday.
Erdogan has since final yr sought to enhance ties with regional powers within the face of accelerating diplomatic isolation that has prompted overseas funding to dry up, significantly from the West.
Final month, he mentioned he would go to Saudi Arabia in February, the primary journey to Riyadh since relations soured over the 2018 homicide of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi inside the dominion’s consulate in Istanbul.
Turkey-UAE commerce topped 26.4 billion dirhams ($7.2 billion) within the first half of 2021. The UAE hopes to double or triple commerce quantity with Turkey, which it sees as a path to new markets.
About 400 Emirati firms function in Turkey, the UAE’s eleventh largest buying and selling associate, WAM mentioned.
© Agence France-Presse