Turkey, UAE sign cooperation agreements during landmark visit of Abu Dhabi crown prince

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Turkey and the United Arab Emirates signed a series of cooperation agreements during the visit to Ankara on Wednesday of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Sheikh Mohammed visited the Turkish capital at the invitation of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The landmark meeting is the highest-level interaction between the two countries in years.

The last time Al-Nahyan paid a visit to Ankara was in 2012, when Erdoğan was prime minister. Sheikh Mohammed’s visit comes as the UAE and Turkey work to mend frayed ties after a period of bitter regional rivalry and amid a currency crisis in Turkey.

Agreements for cooperation in multiple fields including trade, energy and environment as well as agreements covering direct investment in Turkey were signed.

According to Al Arabiya, citing the UAE’s state-run Emirates News Agency, the UAE has also established a $10 billion fund to support investments in Turkey. The fund will focus on strategic investments, including in the energy and health sectors, the agency said.

Investment deals were signed between the Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company PJSC (ADQ), the state investment fund of the UAE, and the Turkey Wealth Fund, as well as the presidential investment office.

Another agreement was signed between the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and Borsa Istanbul, in addition to a memorandum of understanding with the Abu Dhabi Ports company.

The ADQ also signed a cooperation agreement with the Kalyon group in the fields of energy, infrastructure and transportation, and with the the CCN group in health.

Speaking to Turkish state broadcaster TRT, Emirati Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber said the visit is of great importance in many respects.

“This visit comes at a time when the UAE and Turkey are working together on a vision of a more peaceful, stable and prosperous future for the region. The focus of this cooperation is tolerance, mutual benefit, common interests and, of course, building bridges,” al-Jaber was quoted by Anadolu as saying.

The main goal of the visit, he said, is to support the creation of economic value by fostering trade and business partnerships, and by securing successful sustainable investments.

Coup accusations, regional rivalry strained ties

Following a failed coup in Turkey in July 2016, Erdoğan accused the UAE of financing the coup plotters.

“We know very well who in the Gulf was happy about the coup attempt and spent a lot of money on its execution,” Erdoğan said at the time without mentioning the UAE by name.

Turkey also accused the UAE of undermining its interests in Libya, which has been embroiled in a civil war between the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA). Turkey supports the GNA militarily, while the UAE along with Russia backs the LNA and its leader, Gen. Khalifa Haftar, who recently stepped down to run for president in elections slated for Dec. 24.

Turkey’s relations with the UAE have also been strained due to the scandalous revelations of a notorious Turkish mafia boss, Sedat Peker, who is currently in exile in the UAE.

Peker, once a staunch supporter of President Erdoğan who has been making shocking revelations about state-mafia relations, drug trafficking and murders implicating state officials and their family members, has since June been making them on Twitter instead of YouTube since officials in the UAE told him not to release any more YouTube videos defaming politicians in another country.

There are claims that Peker might have to leave the UAE following al-Nahyan’s visit to Ankara due to pressure from the Turkish government.

According to observers, Turkey’s flagging economy prompted Ankara to seek to repair ties.

Investors have become skittish over what they see as Erdoğan’s unorthodox thinking on interest rates.

The lira has lost 39 percent in value against the dollar since the start of the year, and inflation was nearly 20 percent in October.

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