In a significant development Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan landed in the United Arab Emirates marking his first visit to the Gulf state since 2013 underscoring greater economic cooperation between the two countries.
According to a report from Emirati states news agency, 13 agreements were signed during the visit including on “trade, industry, health and medical sciences, land and sea transportation and climate action”.
A report by Turkish news agency Anadolu said, an agreement on defense was also signed.
“During this visit, we aim to develop the momentum we have captured with the United Arab Emirates and to take the necessary steps for ties to go back to the level they deserve,” said Erdogan to reporters at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport before his departure. “The dialogue and cooperation of Turkey and the United Arab Emirates carries great importance for the peace and stability of our entire region”.
Both countries have signed a joint statement on commencing negotiations for a bilateral trade and investment deal, known as a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), reported WAM.
In a statement Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani Al Zeyoudi said, “The UAE expected trade with Turkey to increase substantially once the CEPA came into effect,” which he hopes the two countries could finalise within six months to year.
Since the Arab uprisings a decade ago, Turkey and the UAE have competed for regional influence with the rivalry seeing both countries backing different sides in Libya’s civil war; the rivalry also extended to disputes from the eastern Mediterranean to the Gulf.
The warming in diplomatic ties comes at a time when Turkey is facing economic turmoil and the UAE pursuing a more conciliatory foreign policy driven by economic priorities.
In January 2022, both countries agreed on a nearly $5 billion swap deal in local currencies.
During the visit, Erdogan said Turkey and the UAE would seek to boost bilateral trade and seek opportunities in “the complementary structures of the two countries’ economies”.
Turkey has been at odds with several regional powers as well as its Western allies over various issues. Last year, following a dwindling economy, it launched a regional charm offensive, which have yielded little public improvement with Egypt and Saudi Arabia.