Turkish-Emirati rapprochement – Rakha Ahmed Hassan


Posted in: Tuesday 30 November 2021 – 9:30 PM | Last update: Tuesday 30 November 2021 – 9:30 PM

The second half of the current year 2021 witnessed a series of visits and contacts between Turkey and the United Arab Emirates on several levels, and gave indications that the stage of political tension and tension that dominated the political relations between the two countries is on the way to a major change. And the hostile media image between the two countries, especially since the failed coup attempt against the regime of President Erdogan on July 15, 2016 and accusing the UAE of supporting and supporting the coup attempt, despite all the ambiguity surrounding this attempt, its dimensions have not been clear so far, and the UAE denied these accusations. This is in addition to Turkey’s embrace of leaders from the Muslim Brotherhood, which angers the UAE, which has taken a similar position to Egypt and Saudi Arabia by designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.
The developments of the Turkish-Emirati rapprochement took a gradual path, and it was announced that an Emirati delegation headed by Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed, UAE National Security Adviser, visited Ankara on August 18, 2021, and met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a number of ministers, senior officials and businessmen. The visit dealt with cooperation Economic and commercial opportunities and investment opportunities in several fields, including transportation, ports, energy, and health, within the framework of common interests between the two countries.
This important visit was followed by a phone call on August 30, 2021 between the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and Turkish President Erdogan, during which they discussed bilateral relations between the two countries in several areas, and exchanged views on a number of regional and international issues and files of relevance. The common interest between Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. A high-ranking Turkish trade delegation also visited Abu Dhabi on October 17, 2021 and met with its Emirati counterparts. He also met with the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani bin Hamad Al Zeyoudi, and the two sides discussed ways to develop trade exchange between the two countries.
All previous contacts and mutual visits were a prelude to the UAE Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, to visit Turkey on November 24, 2021 at the invitation of President Erdogan. This visit was considered a major shift in the rapprochement between Turkey and the UAE. The UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology described the visit as being of special importance in all respects at a time when the two countries are working together to develop a vision for a peaceful, stable and prosperous future for the region, based on openness, tolerance, mutual benefits, common interests, and building bridges for cooperation and communication. And that the main objective of the visit is to help create economic value by promoting trade and business participation and ensuring the implementation of successful sustainable investments. He added that the UAE and Turkey are among the most active economies and societies in the region, and they believe that economic growth and progress is the way to achieve a sustainable future, especially since they have had economic, social and cultural relations for years.
President Erdogan’s welcome to Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, whether in the high reception ceremony, or in words of praise for the relations between the two countries, was distinguished, and they reviewed all aspects of relations between the two countries and regional and international issues of common interest. Several memoranda of understanding were signed for joint cooperation between the two countries, including the exchange of financial information in the context of combating money laundering and terrorism, and cooperation between the Turkish Sovereign Fund, Abu Dhabi Port Company and Abu Dhabi Development Holding Company. And cooperation between the same former Emirati company and the Turkish Presidential Investment Authority. And cooperation between the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange and the Istanbul Stock Exchange, cooperation in the field of central banking services between the Central Bank of Turkey and its UAE counterpart, cooperation in the field of energy, in the field of environment, and cooperation in customs affairs. Perhaps the most important agreement is the establishment of an Emirati investment fund in Turkey with a capital of 10 billion US dollars. This fund is expected to cover several areas, including e-commerce, energy, and supply chains, and Emirati companies buying equivalent Turkish companies or establishing companies with them. A senior Emirati official said, “The problems are behind our backs, and we are entering a period entirely based on cooperation and mutual benefit.”
It should be noted that despite the apparent state of political tension between the UAE and Turkey, and the exchange of accusations through the media in the two countries, the trade and economic relations between them continued at rates of trade exchange over nine years, with an average annual value of about $8 billion. This is due to the practical policy based on the actual interests adopted by both the UAE and Turkey, and their keenness to separate the political and media differences that may arise between them, and the common commercial, economic and investment interests of the two countries and their peoples.
Based on this practical policy, the UAE is the most prominent Arab trading partner with Turkey. The value of trade exchange between them during 2019 amounted to $8 billion; The UAE’s exports were $4.4 billion, and its imports from Turkey were $3.6 billion, meaning that the trade balance was in the UAE’s favour. While the value of trade exchange between them in 2020 amounted to 8.42 billion US dollars, of which 5.6 billion dollars were UAE exports, and 2.8 billion dollars were imports from Turkey. It is noted that the deficit in the Turkish trade balance between them increased from the previous year. It also indicates a growth in the total trade exchange between them, as Turkey and the UAE have agreements to import oil, and others to exchange goods. The trade exchange between the two countries reached its highest rate in 2017, amounting to 14.8 billion US dollars for both parties together. The UAE imports from Turkey precious stones, minerals, and machinery, in addition to the Emiratis’ demand for tourism in Turkey. While the UAE exports to Turkey gold, aluminum, jewelry, petroleum, mineral oils, chemicals, and iron. The UAE ranks 12th in the world in importing from Turkey, second after Iraq, and ninth globally in exporting to Turkey, and first in the Arab world and the Gulf.
The UAE occupies the first place in the Gulf and Arab countries in terms of investments in Turkey and its diversity, and the value of its investments in Turkey is about 4.3 billion US dollars, followed by Qatar in second place and Saudi Arabia in third place. Emirati investments include several areas, including finance, banking, renewable energy, real estate projects, food, pharmaceutical and medical industries, consumer goods and logistics services, retail trade, and ports. While most of the Turkish investments in the UAE are concentrated in the construction sector.
After his return from Turkey to Abu Dhabi, Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed was keen to make a phone call with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, to consult on the results of the visit, during which it is expected that they would have discussed with the Turkish side regarding Turkey’s relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and hosted a number of From their leaders and what Ankara intends regarding the requirements for restoring normal political relations with Egypt, whether in relation to the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkish support for it, or the Turkish position on the Libyan crisis and the presence of Turkish forces and mercenaries brought by Turkey to Libya.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed also made a phone call to King Abdullah II of Jordan to inform him of the results of the visit regarding Turkish interventions in the Arab crises, whether in Syria, Iraq or Libya, especially since Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed had met with King Abdullah II before his visit to Turkey .
The United Arab Emirates has made great strides on the path of rapprochement with Turkey, which is in dire need of this rapprochement and the economic, commercial and investment advantages it brings to help it get out of the economic and financial crisis it is experiencing with the approach of the presidential elections in Turkey in 2023 and President Erdogan’s desire to work on Improving his relations with Turkey’s trade and economic partners in the region in order to improve the internal conditions in Turkey in terms of economic and social terms, and reduce criticism directed at him, whether from the Turkish opposition or dissidents from the ruling Justice and Development Party.


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