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UAE crown prince to visit Turkey for first time in ten years

Mohammed bin Zayed is expected to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on November 24 after several years of enmity between the countries
Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (L) shakes hands with Turkey's then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan before a meeting in Ankara in 2012 (AFP)
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Ankara

United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan (MBZ) will visit Turkey next week for the first time in ten years, two Turkish officials told Middle East Eye.  

The Emirati crown prince's visit, expected to take place on 24 November, will be a symbolic turning point after the UAE and Turkey agreed to improve relations last summer.

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Turkish officials described MBZ's visit as the "beginning of a new era" following years of hostility, after Ankara blamed the UAE for financing the 2016 coup plotters in Turkey and undermining Turkish interests in Libya.

Turkey had previously believed it was locked in a regional struggle with the UAE after Ankara backed new democratic movements that emerged from the Arab Spring.

But the election of US President Joe Biden marked a turning point that pushed the two regional foes together, with Washington's attention now turned to East Asia and away from the Middle East. 

In August, the UAE's national security adviser Tahnoun bin Zayed al Nahyan, the crown prince's brother, met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to negotiate a roadmap for new Emirati investments in Turkey. 

Sources previously told MEE that the UAE planned to invest at least $10bn in Turkey, with others putting the figure even higher, at tens of billions of dollars.

One person familiar with the preparations for MBZ's visit told MEE that there had been an increasing Emirati interest in Turkish defence companies, which have established lucrative businesses with indigenous production capabilities in recent years. 

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and other Emirati companies are also reportedly interested in healthcare, financial technology targets and other industries in Turkey.