Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan landed in the United Arab Emirates on Monday, announcing a flurry of deals on his first visit to the Gulf state since 2013.
According to the Emirati state news agency, 13 agreements were inked at the conference, including those on commerce, industry, health and medical sciences, land and sea transportation, and climate action.
According to the Turkish news agency Anadolu, a defense pact was struck.
Erdogan met with UAE de facto ruler Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, who visited Ankara in November and signed multibillion-dollar investment treaties.
“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,
According to WAM, the UAE and Turkey issued a joint declaration on the commencement of discussions for a bilateral trade and investment agreement known as a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
Thani Al Zeyoudi, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Commerce, told Reuters that the UAE expected trade with Turkey to rise significantly after the CEPA went into force, which he believed the two sides could finalize within six months to a year.
Since Arab protests erupted a decade ago, the UAE and Turkey have battled for regional power, a rivalry that has seen them support opposing sides in Libya’s civil war and extends to issues from the eastern Mediterranean to the Gulf.
The improved diplomatic relations come at a time when Turkey is experiencing economic upheaval and the UAE is pursuing a more emollient foreign policy based on economic interests.
Last month, the two countries reached an agreement in local currency worth about $5 billion.
Erdogan stated that Turkey and the UAE will aim to increase bilateral trade and explore prospects in “the complementing structures of the two nations’ economies” during his visit.
Last year, Turkey, which was at odds with numerous regional nations as well as its Western partners over a variety of problems, started a regional charm drive. However, initiatives with Egypt and Saudi Arabia have delivered little public benefit thus far.