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Turkey's Erdogan holds rare meeting with senior UAE official

Turkish president meets UAE national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed al-Nahyan, and says some progress between rivals has been made in recent months
Erdogan said if the talks proceed well the UAE would make 'serious investments' in Turkey.
Erdogan said if talks proceed well, the UAE would make 'serious investments' in Turkey (AFP/File photo)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a rare meeting with a senior official from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday, after years of tensions between the two regional rivals.

Erdogan said he and UAE national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed al-Nahyan discussed investment in Turkey, adding that if the talks proceed well, the Gulf nation would make "serious investments" in Turkey.

The Turkish leader said Ankara and Abu Dhabi have been in contact in recent months and made some progress, adding he was open to meeting the UAE's de facto ruler, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.

The meeting comes months after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had a phone call with his Emirati counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed, where the two ministers exchanged congratulatory messages over the holy month of Ramadan.

Turkey and the UAE, bitter rivals in the Middle East, have supported opposing sides in regional disputes, including the conflict in Libya and the blockade of Qatar by several Arab states.

However, since US President Joe Biden was elected to office, both countries have signalled a change in their regional policies, with Ankara holding talks with Egypt and Israel through its intelligence agencies to repair bilateral ties.

Last January, the UAE's then-foreign minister, Anwar Gargash, suggested that the relations between the two rivals could be "recalibrated".

Cavusoglu made similar remarks earlier this year, saying it was possible to reset relations with the UAE if it took steps to alleviate Turkish concerns.

Turkish officials previously said the UAE had eased pressure on Turkish businessmen and restarted flights between Istanbul and Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The Emirati government had also quickly issued agreements to usher in a new Turkish ambassador.