Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are showing a willingness to help build peace and stability despite the challenges facing them, news outlets in the UAE and other Arab countries said as they welcomed a two-day visit to the Gulf nation by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who returned to Turkey on Wednesday.
Emirati media in particular widely covered Erdoğan's visit, which was the first since 2013. "Turkey and the UAE spearhead regional prosperity," the Arabic-language daily Al-Watan ran as its headline on a meeting between Erdoğan and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Emirati vice president and ruler of Dubai.
The daily stressed that the two countries could serve as a locomotive for regional development with their advanced programs and projects, along with their capabilities in the energy sector.
It noted that Al Maktoum expressed hope that Turkey and the UAE could lead efforts to bring stability and prosperity to the region.
Another daily newspaper, the Al-Ittihad, reported that the two countries showed strong aspirations to develop bilateral cooperation and partnership.
Turkey and the UAE are prominent and successful regional examples of the peaceful and tolerant coexistence of different groups, said the report.
The vision both countries have embraced is compatible with regional development, it underlined, adding that this would help overcome challenges in the region.
Other major Arab news outlets, including the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, covered Erdoğan's remarks that Turkey sees the security of the Gulf states as indispensable to its own security.
Saudi TV channel Al-Arabiya, for its part, drew attention to the dazzling welcoming ceremony that the UAE held for Erdoğan's arrival.
Before departing for the UAE from Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Erdoğan told a news conference that the two countries had launched a new era in their bilateral relations with the visit of Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ) to Ankara in November.
The Abu Dhabi crown prince's visit led to the announcement of a $10 billion (TL 136 billion) fund for investments in Turkey. Both countries also signed several agreements on energy, the environment, finance and trade. The prince’s visit to Turkey was viewed as part of a wider effort by the UAE to recalibrate its foreign policy following an unsuccessful attempt to isolate fellow Gulf state Qatar in 2017.
Turkey and the UAE signed 13 new agreements in various fields during Erdoğan's visit to the Gulf country.
Agreements on the defense industry, health, climate change, industry, technology, trade, economy, culture, agriculture, trade, economy, youth, transportation, disaster management, meteorology, communication and archive were signed during the meeting between the Turkish and UAE delegation chaired jointly by Erdoğan and MBZ.
After completing his visit, Erdoğan told reporters that the visit to the UAE, which came nearly after a decade, constituted a strong momentum and significant stage to further bilateral ties.
Erdoğan described his talks with MBZ as “highly fruitful” and said the two leaders discussed how to further enhance bilateral relations.
“We also exchanged views on regional and international issues. At this point, we underlined the support we give to the United Arab Emirates’ security and stability. We emphasized that we do not see the security of the Gulf region separate from ours,” he said.
Ties between Turkey and the Arab world are experiencing a major thaw after years of tense relations. Last month Erdoğan said he would visit Saudi Arabia in February, the first trip to Riyadh since relations soured over the 2018 murder of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.
Turkey and the UAE have seen their ties affected by regional tensions, including the conflict in Libya, where they have backed opposing sides in recent years.
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 criticized Turkey’s military actions. Relations hit an all-time low when Erdoğan said that Ankara could suspend diplomatic ties with the Abu Dhabi administration after the UAE-Israel deal.
Turkey also sided with Qatar in a Gulf dispute, at odds with the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, while Turkish support helped Libya’s United Nations-backed government in Tripoli drive back UAE-supported forces attempting to seize the capital. However, 2021 saw Turkey seeking warmer ties with several regional countries and longtime foes after many tumultuous years.
Converging interests have driven regional power shifts in the Middle East, mainly led by regional powerhouses Turkey and the UAE. The diplomatic maneuvering signals a growing realization across the region that the United States’ interest is moving elsewhere and that now is the time for negotiations that were unthinkable just a year ago.
Turkey is also engaged in an effort to mend its frayed ties with regional powers, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia. 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.