Diplomacy: Turkey and the United Arab Emirates on the road to reconciliation

The Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates Mohammed bin Zayed (L) is expected this Wednesday, November 24 by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Archive photo.


Text by: Anne Andlauer

3 min

Possible reconciliation in sight between Ankara and Abu Dhabi.

After years of tensions between the two capitals, the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates Mohammed ben Zayed is expected this Wednesday, November 24 by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


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From our correspondent in Turkey,

Anne Andlauer

This visit to Ankara by Mohammed ben Zayed

, the first in ten years, should formalize the warming of Turkish-Emirati relations which have come a long way.

Indeed, relations between Ankara and Abu Dhabi gradually deteriorated from the “Arab Spring”, when Turkey began to nurture ambitions for power in its region and in the Muslim world in general.

The two countries found themselves on opposing sides at the time of the 2013 overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who was supported by Turkey;

then from 2017, with the crisis between several Gulf countries and Qatar, Turkey's main partner in its region.

More recently, it is in Libya that Ankara and Abu Dhabi indirectly clashed, Ankara having taken up the cause from 2019 for the Government of National Unity based in Tripoli.

To make matters worse, Turkish officials accused the UAE of funding the

July 15, 2016 coup



Why this merger today?

This rapprochement should be read in a more general context which sees Turkey trying to repair its relations with other regional powers: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel. For about a year, with the arrival of Joe Biden at the head of the United States, the serious difficulties of the Turkish economy and the growing isolation of Turkey in the energy competition in the Eastern Mediterranean, the country of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pursues a policy of the outstretched hand.

And the most receptive to these appeasement efforts seem to be the United Arab Emirates, despite mutual suspicion.

Ankara has all the more interest in reconnecting with the Emirates as the latter shelter on their soil the mafia leader Sedat Peker, who hit the headlines last spring by posting videos on YouTube that compromise Turkish power.

Sedat Peker has not posted anything on his account since early July.

He said he was under pressure from the Abu Dhabi authorities.

Economic benefit for Turkey

This is one of the main motivations of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ankara hopes to develop its trade relations with the wealthy kingdom of the Emirates.

The volume of bilateral trade had approached $ 15 billion in 2017, before being halved in the following years, against the backdrop of the crisis with Qatar.

In particular, the amount of Turkey's exports has been divided by three.

President Erdogan has also publicly and repeatedly insisted in recent months on the investments that the United Arab Emirates could make in Turkey.

Abu Dhabi is said to be particularly interested in the Turkish defense industry, which has been very dynamic in recent years.

The investments hoped for by Turkey amount to billions, even tens of billions of dollars.  


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  • Diplomacy

  • Turkey

  • United Arab Emirates