Ankara, Turkey (AFP) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted a senior security official from the United Arab Emirates and said the Gulf state is looking to invest in Turkey, suggesting strained relations between the two countries may be on the way to easing.
It appears that the visit of the UAE National Security Adviser, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on Wednesday, is the highest public visit of an Emirati official to Turkey in years. The two countries have seen their relations affected by regional tensions, including the conflict in Libya, where the United Arab Emirates and Turkey have backed opposing sides in recent years.
Sheikh Tahnoun’s meeting with Erdogan reflects a broader re-evaluation by the UAE of its foreign policy positions after Failed attempt to isolate Gulf colleague Qatar. Turkey rushed to support Qatar during the embargo imposed by the UAE and three other Arab countries, and Ankara deepened its military presence in Qatar during the diplomatic spat.
The Arab Quartet at the time demanded a series of retreats by Qatar, including the expulsion of Turkish forces, but Qatar dismissed the demands as violations of its sovereignty. The dispute was resolved earlier this year with Agreement signed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The meeting with the Emirati official is also part of a broader effort by an increasingly isolated Turkey to mend strained relations with regional powers, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
A brief statement issued by Erdogan’s office after the meeting said that he discussed with Sheikh Tahnoun bilateral relations and regional issues. Erdogan said in a late-night interview with Turkey’s Kanal 7 channel, that they discussed potential investments from the UAE in Turkey.
“They have serious investment goals and investment plans,” the president said. “I believe that in a short period of time, the UAE will enter our country with serious investments.”
The UAE government news agency published a brief report on the meeting, in which it said that the two sides discussed investment opportunities in the fields of transport, health and energy.
Asked whether the visit marked the beginning of a meltdown, Erdogan said: “It is normal that there will be fluctuations in relations…We have reached a certain stage (thanks to) our intelligence service in particular, which has been hindering some meetings for a few months.” .
He said that it is likely that he will meet with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed, in the future. The crown prince is seen as the de facto leader and force behind the UAE’s foreign policy stance.
Abu Dhabi Palace advisor Anwar Gargash wrote on Twitter after the meeting that the UAE is in the process of building and restoring bridges and strengthening relations with everyone.
Gargash said: “Differences in viewpoints on some issues will not stand in the way of raising awareness and promoting opportunities for stability, prosperity and development.”
He also shared a photo of Erdogan standing with Sheikh Tahnoun with his 1.3 million followers, writing that the meeting was “historic and positive.”
According to Elbatrawy from Dubai, United Arab Emirates