Erdogan visits UAE to improve strained relations

Recep Tayyip Erdogan Editorial credit: Siarhei Liudkevich /

Visiting the UAE for the first time since 2013, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan concluded his two-day visit to the Gulf country seeking to bridge the chasm and build economic ties after years of strained relations.

The visit came at the invitation of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who met Erdogan on his arrival at the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, on which Turkey’s flag was projected.

The strained relations stems from the Arab Spring uprisings, during which Turkey supported revolutions that sought to challenge dictators and autocrats from Tunisia to Syria. Turkey’s support alarmed the UAE which is governed by dynastic rulers.

Turkey is currently seeking to mend relations with neighbours, including Israel, as it is undergoing a financial crisis at home.

During the visit the two countries signed 13 agreements related to the defence industry, health, climate change, industry, technology, trade, economy, culture, agriculture, youth, transportation, disaster management, meteorology and communications.

Addressing businesspeople in the Gulf country, Erdogan said: “The UAE is one of the primary trade partners of Turkey in the region. Turkey leads new initiatives that develop advanced technology and have a name on a global scale with its dynamic and young population…

“The UAE offers financial support and favourable investment opportunities to high-tech companies and start-ups. Turkey, with its dynamic and young population, is leading new global initiatives that develop advanced technology. Turkey is a country that stands out with its 85 million population, rising industrial production, qualified employment capacity, physical infrastructure and geographical location. Turkey has extremely attractive legislation on doing business and investment.”

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In an op-ed in Khaleej Times, Erdogan wrote: “I believe that Türkiye and the UAE together can contribute to the regional peace, stability and prosperity. Our areas of cooperation, shared history, culture, and traditional values provide us with considerable opportunities. Our efforts to strengthen bilateral ties would also contribute to global stability.

“Turkey is one of the rare countries that seek to balance its interests with peace and stability in its foreign policy. We strive to apply this principle to all parties we come into contact with. Our fundamental principles are aligning our interests, extending the fields of cooperation using the ‘win-win’ formula, and joint struggle against threats.”

Mohammed bin Zayed hailed the visit, agreements and memoranda of understanding signed by the two countries during Erdogan’s visit.

The Crown Prince said: “The agreements laid the foundation for the launch of fresh economic and trade partnerships between the two countries, stressing the UAE’s keenness to strengthen this partnership and push it forward during the coming period to double the volume of trade exchanges between the two nations.”

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