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Turkey's Erdogan to visit the UAE in February for first time in 10 years

The Turkish president said meeting with MBZ last week had taken place in a family like environment
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) welcomes Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (C) during an official ceremony at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, on 24 November 2021 (AFP)
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Ankara

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he is planning to visit the United Arab Emirates in February, the first such trip in nearly 10 years as the erstwhile foes further strengthen ties. 

Erdogan said in an interview to journalists who accompanied him to Turkmenistan that the UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed’s visit to Ankara last week had taken place in a “family like” environment. 

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“Our private meeting as well as bilateral meeting went really well,” he said. “The agreement we signed is a step to begin a new era in Turkey and UAE relations. God willing, I will make a return visit to the UAE in February."

Erdogan said his foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and the intelligence chief Hakan Fidan will be paying a visit to Abu Dhabi before he does. 

The United Arab Emirates slated $10bn for investment in Turkey last week during bin Zayed's landmark visit to Ankara to meet Erdogan.

Erdogan, in the same interview, said that Turkey plans to take similar steps to repair ties with countries like Egypt and Israel by appointing ambassadors. 

“As soon as we make a decision, we will assign ambassadors accordingly,” he said. “We will take similar steps as we have done with the UAE.”

Turkey and the UAE have begun restoring relations over the past year, after 10 years of political and proxy conflicts in places such as Libya, Egypt and the Horn of Africa, and accusations that the Emiratis were plotting to take down the Turkish government.

In addition to a memorandum of understanding to strengthen trade, energy and environmental ties, agreements were also signed last week covering direct Emirati investment in Turkey.

Turkey is also seeking to bolster its central bank’s foreign currency reserves by at least $5bn in a swap agreement with the UAE. 

The deal additionally allows Abu Dhabi to make direct deposits of US dollars to the Turkish central bank, amid a currency crisis in Turkey.