UAE may make serious investments in Turkey: Erdoğan
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R) and the UAE's National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan pose for a picture at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, Turkey, on Aug. 18, 2021. (AA Photo)

UAE may make serious investments in Turkey: Erdoğan

Fluctuations in bilateral relations can happen and are normal, said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a televised interview late Wednesday, adding that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) may make “serious investments” in Turkey if negotiations between the countries go well.

The live interview came right after the president received the Emirates’ National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“For several months … beginning with our intelligence unit, by holding some talks with the administration of Abu Dhabi, we have arrived at a certain point,” Erdoğan said.

“I am also considering meeting with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed,” he added.

“They have a very serious investment target, an investment plan,” Erdoğan said, adding that the heads of Turkey’s Wealth Fund and investment support agency would pursue the talks.

“If they continue in a good way with their counterparts, I believe the United Arab Emirates will make serious investments in our country in a very short time,” he said.

Erdoğan also said that the countries, that have been at odds in several issues, have made progress in bilateral relations in recent months.

The Communications Directorate also said in a statement that bilateral and regional developments were discussed during Erdoğan’s meeting with Al Nahyan.

The two also discussed the UAE’s investments in Turkey, the statement added.

“In this meeting, we discussed what type of investment could be made in which areas,” Erdoğan said.

Anwar Gargash, the diplomatic adviser to UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, hailed the meeting as “historic and positive” on Twitter.

“Cooperation and economic partnerships were the main focus of the meeting,” he said.

“The UAE continues to build bridges and consolidate relations, and just as the priorities of prosperity and development drive our internal direction, it is also the locomotive of our foreign policy,” he added.

The two countries, which backed rival sides in Libya’s conflict, have been bitter rivals for regional influence. Turkey last year accused the UAE of bringing chaos to the Middle East through its interventions in Libya and Yemen, while the UAE and several other countries criticised Turkey’s military actions. Relations between Turkey and the UAE hit an all-time low when Erdoğan said that Ankara could suspend diplomatic ties with the Abu Dhabi administration after the UAE-Israel deal.

Turkish officials have said the UAE supports terrorist organizations that target Turkey, using the groups as useful political and military tools abroad.

The UAE’s aggressive foreign policy led it to be a part of a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen that launched a devastating air campaign to roll back Houthi territorial gains in 2015, further escalating the crisis in the war-torn country. In Libya, Abu Dhabi backed putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar and tried to oust the legitimate United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). In Syria, it supported the Bashar Assad regime in its offensive against democracy and civil rights.

And in 2017, Abu Dhabi was at the forefront of a regional embargo on Qatar, which the UAE and Saudi Arabia imposed after accusing Doha of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and being too close to Iran. In January, Abu Dhabi followed Saudi Arabia’s lead in lifting the regional embargo on Qatar.

In June, a report said that UAE seeks to restore ties with Turkey and other regional countries.

Also, Erdoğan had reiterated that Turkey hopes to maximize its cooperation with Egypt and Gulf nations “on a win-win basis,” at a time when Ankara intensified diplomacy to mend its fraught ties with Cairo and some Gulf Arab nations after years of tensions.

Already-strained relations with Saudi Arabia collapsed after the killing by Saudi agents of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul – a killing that Erdoğan said had been ordered at the highest level in Riyadh.

Turkey’s ties with Cairo have been poor since the military overthrew Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, following protests against his rule.

As part of their push to rebuild fractured relations, the two countries held talks in May over their differences on the conflicts in Libya and Syria and the security situation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

This article originally appeared in DAILY SABAH on 18 August 2021.