Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s reception of Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE National Security Adviser, in Ankara, has opened a new door of normalization of Turkish relations with the region’s countries. The meeting has made headlines in Turkish local newspapers, after a chapter of collapse in the relations between the two countries
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish President, has revealed that there will be an upcoming meeting with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. “After today’s meeting with Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the National Security Adviser of the United Arab Emirates, we will have more meetings with Mohammed bin Zayed,” Erdogan says.
“I hope that through these meetings we would be able to solve problems in the region as people with the same culture and beliefs,” he adds.
“Ups and downs are possible between governments, and our intelligence institution has been holding meetings with United Arab Emirates for a few months before reaching this stage,” Erdogan told TVNet in a live broadcast.
“The meeting has dealt with relations between the two countries and regional issues, as well as discussing the possibility of UAE investment in Turkey,” Erdogan clarifies.
“We had a serious discussion about the UAE’s investments in Turkey and discussed the type of which that can be made in different fields as UAE has very serious investment goals and plans, and we hope that the UAE will make serious investments in our country in a very short time,” the Turkish President further says.
This meeting comes months after a phone call between the foreign ministers of Turkey and the UAE. This meeting is the first of its kind in 5 years and indicates the remarkable progress in normalizing relations between Ankara and Abu Dhabi.
In turn, WAM, Emirates News Agency, has reported that the two sides discussed, during the meeting in Ankara, ways to enhance bilateral relations between the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Turkey, especially economic and commercial cooperation and investment opportunities in transportation, health and energy so that common interests between the two countries can be achieved. WAM has confirmed that during the meeting, a number of regional issues of common interest were discussed.
Relations between Turkey and the United Arab Emirates have had a difficult time for years as the diplomatic crisis between officials reached its peak when Saudi Arabia, along with Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Egypt, had announced a siege on Qatar in June 2017. However, Ankara took Doha’s side and supported it politically, economically, and militarily. As for Abu Dhabi, it rejects Ankara’s involvement in invading a number of Arab arenas and its support for the MB, which has been classified as a terrorist in a number of Arab countries.
A Historic and Positive meeting.
On the other hand, Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, the diplomatic advisor to the President of the Emirates, has considered that the meeting between the Emirati National Security Adviser and the Turkish President was positive and focused on cooperation and economic partnerships.
The diplomatic advisor to the President of the Emirates has described the meeting that brought together Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as “historic and positive.”
“The UAE continues to build bridges and consolidate relations, and just as the priorities of prosperity and development drive our internal direction, it is also the locomotive of our foreign policy,” Gargash emphasized in a tweet.
Erdogan has made efforts to reach out to a group of regional rivals, including Egypt, in an attempt to end the growing diplomatic isolation that Turkey has been facing. This isolation has hindered the momentum of foreign investors in the weakened Turkish economy.
It is notable that the investments between Emirati and Turkish companies had not stopped in the past years, even though they had declined slightly. However, their pace has increased during Corona epidemic. As for the Emirati investments in Turkey, small and medium enterprises, entrepreneurship, renewable energy sectors, manufacturing industries, food, pharmaceutical and medical industries, tourism, consumer goods and services, financial and logistical services, retail trade, commercial centers and hotels, constitute the most important ones.
Turkey has reached the top of global misery index, after achieving 32.2 points, which is the highest rate in recent years. According to a report prepared by the parliamentary group of the Republican People’s Party, this index is expected to rise further in the coming period after the uncontrollable rise in living cost.
According to the data of the International Monetary Fund, the Emirati trade exchange has generally achieved the highest percentage among all other Gulf countries with Turkey, reaching $8 billion in 2020, despite the pandemic of the new Corona virus epidemic. The UAE is ranked 12th as the largest importer of Turkish goods and ranked 9th as the largest exporter to the Turkish market. Nevertheless, Turkey is ranked 15th in the world for the UAE’s trading partners.
Ankara is moving to de-escalate tension with some Arab forces, especially after its intervention in Libyan conflict, internal disputes in the Gulf and the rival demands for having sovereignty over the waters of the eastern Mediterranean. The files of Qatar and Egypt are considered among the most prominent Emirati-Turkish dispute, but the Gulf reconciliation and the progress of rapprochement efforts between Ankara and Cairo have given a strong push the Turkish-Emirati rapprochement. This softening of policy may lead to a meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries and mutual visits between them.
Sameh Shoukry, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, had earlier described Turkey’s decision to ban the MB’s media activities as a positive step that is consistent with international law and normal relations between countries that are based on non-interference in internal affairs. “Proceeding with this kind of policies means normalizing the relations between the two countries and reaching a better framework; however, the return and normalization of relations between the two parties is not related to the way Ankara deals with the MB, but also to the Libyan file,” the Egyptian Minister states.
In turn, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkish Foreign Minister, confirmed, during a joint press conference with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi in the capital Amman, that his country is seeking to open new pages with Egypt and with some other countries in the region. The Turkish Minister opined that the region is witnessing developments in recent times, and that there is a new dynamic in the region and a new American administration. “The views in the region have slightly changes, and there is a new government in Israel, and developments in the Gulf region,” he said during the meeting.
It appears that international and regional variables have prompted Turkey to chart new features for its relations with the Gulf states, especially in light of many events, including the Gulf reconciliation, and Turkey’s endeavor to build new relations with Saudi Arabia as well. The Saudi Foreign Ministry expressed yesterday, Wednesday, their hopes that, Fatih Ulu Soyi, the Turkish ambassador in Riyadh, will succeed in pushing bilateral relations towards broader horizons, particularly at this time when the two countries are striving to correct their relations that have been strained in the past years.
Relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey went through extraordinary tension after the Gulf crisis outbreak in 2017, before it exacerbated again, when the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018. In addition, there were unofficial calls for a boycott of Turkish goods and to not travel for tourism to Turkey, which have adversely affected the relations between the two countries.