Turkey President Erdogan visits the UAE for first time in a decade

Turkey President Erdogan visits the UAE for first time in a decade
Amid economic turmoil, Turkey is eyeing the Emirates for investments and bilateral trade. Ankara and Abu Dhabi are set to restore ties damaged by nine years of regional rivalry.
2 min read
14 February, 2022
President Erdogan met the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi. [Murat Kula/Anadolu Agency via Getty]

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Monday to meet his Emirati counterpart, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Turkish state media reported.

The two leaders signed 13 agreements on the first day of the two-day visit, according to the Turkish governmental Anadolu Agency.

The agreements pertain to the defence industry, health, climate change, industry, technology, trade, economy, culture, agriculture, trade, economy, youth, transportation, disaster management, meteorology, communication and archive.

"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," Erdogan told reporters at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport before he departed.

"The dialogue and cooperation of Turkey and the United Arab Emirates carries great importance for the peace and stability of our entire region," he added.

On Tuesday, Erdogan is due to visit the Expo 2020 Dubai, where Turkey's national day will be celebrated.

This is the first visit of a Turkish president to the UAE since 2013, after years of a difficult relationship marked by animosity.

It follows a similar visit made by al-Nahyan to Ankara in November, during which investment accords worth $10 billions were signed.

The UAE and Turkey have had a tense relationship over the past decade, marked by competition for regional influence.

The two states back different sides in Libya's civil war and have also opposed each other in several disputes ranging from the eastern Mediterranean to the Gulf.

Economic imperatives seem to be driving them closer, as Turkey faces a deep economic crisis. Last month, the two countries agreed on a nearly $5 billion swap deal in local currencies.

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In this context, the current visit aims to boost bilateral trade.  

"The complementary nature of the two economies points to a potential far beyond the current figures. The purpose of our visit is to realize this potential quickly," Erdogan said at a press conference in Istanbul on Monday morning.