Rapprochement of Relations between Turkey and UAE

September 1, 2021

On Tuesday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan allowed to talk on a phone call with the UAE’s de facto ruler, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in a new sign of attempts to enhance ties between the two regional rivals.

Since the Arab uprisings erupted a decade ago, Turkey and the UAE have competed for regional influence, a rivalry that has seen emerge by supporting and opposing two different sides in Libya’s civil war and has enlarged to disputes from the eastern Mediterranean to the Gulf. Erdogan stated last year that Turkey was considering terminating diplomatic relations following the Gulf state’s agreement to normalize relations with Israel.

Erdogan’s office talks about the phone call with Sheikh Mohammed,
“Relationships between countries and regional issues were discussed”. A senior Turkish official said of the latest talks, “Two weeks after Erdogan met with a senior UAE official who stated that the two countries’ relations had improved, potentially leading to major UAE investment in Turkey. “It’s in all of best interests to undertake an agreement-based policy rather than a conflict-based strategy. This is an interesting discovery”.

For years, Ankara and Abu Dhabi have accompanied rival groups in the Middle East, with Turkey helping Islamist movements, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, which participated in the Arab Spring uprisings to depose authoritarian regimes in the region. Wealthy Gulf leaders are concerned that such unrest will spread to their own countries.

According to the UAE’s state news agency WAM, both leaders discussed “the potentials of strengthening relations between the two nations in a way to serve their common interests and two peoples.” Last year, Turkey alleged the UAE of causing chaos in the Middle East by intervening in Libya and Yemen, while the UAE and many other countries condemned Turkey’s military interventions. This year, Ankara has also provided aid to the UAE’s main regional allies, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, in an effort to alleviate tensions that have harmed Turkey’s economy. Turkey’s strained relations with Saudi Arabia deteriorated following the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 by Saudi agents in Istanbul.

On Tuesday, the two countries announced that they would hold another round talk for the coming week. According to the Turkish official, expecting to solve long-term difficulties in a short time period is implausible. “However, there is a desire to resolve them. The problems will not get worse over rather relations will improve in the short to medium term.”

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