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MP questions gov’t about UAE coup financing claims following thaw in ties

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A lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has posed a number of questions to Turkey’s interior minister regarding the government’s change of discourse about the United Arab Emirates, which was accused of having financed a coup attempt in Turkey in 2016.

CHP lawmaker and deputy group chairman Özgür Özel directed his questions to Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu in light of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s improving relations with the UAE.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid a two-day visit to the UAE earlier this week to revive relations that were long strained by regional disputes, marking his first trip to the oil-rich Gulf country in nearly a decade. Erdoğan’s visit came after Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the UAE’s de facto ruler, travelled to Ankara in November on the first high-level visit to Turkey since 2012.

Erdoğan and Sheikh Mohammed during Erdoğan’s visit oversaw the signing of 13 cooperation agreements and memorandums of understanding, including a letter of intent on cooperation in the defense industry.

The change in the Erdoğan government’s discourse regarding the UAE attracted the attention of the opposition parties and government critics, prompting them to question the possible reasons for the shift.

In his parliamentary question Özel reminded Soylu of his remarks suggesting in May 2021  that the UAE, along with the US, were the masterminds of the July 2016 coup attempt, which claimed the lives of more than 250 people and injured thousands of others, prompting a two-year state of emergency.

Özel asked Soylu whether the relations with the UAE have begun to improve because the alleged perpetrators of the July 15 coup attempt in the UAE have been found out and caught or if intelligence about the UAE’s role in the coup attempt proved the minister and his government wrong.

Following the attempted coup, Erdoğan also 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.

On the second day of his visit to UAE on Tuesday, Erdoğan said his trip “started a new era” with the UAE, adding there was a “strong collective will to develop trade relations and increase investments.”

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