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Beginning of relaxation between Turkey and the United Arab Emirates

The photograph of the knowing smile exchanged between the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Ben Zayed Al Nahyane (known as “MBZ”), de facto boss of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will be a milestone. The meeting which took place in Ankara, Wednesday, November 24, at the presidential palace of Bestepe, constitutes a first since 2012. It initiates a relaxation between these two strong men with rival ambitions, who, for a decade, fought each other through interposed allies. in many theaters of crisis in the Middle East.

“MBZ” announced the creation of a 10 billion dollars (8.9 billion euros) investment fund to support the Turkish economy and the signing of ten contracts. Although the content of the agreements has not yet been released, the UAE news agency WAM speaks « Strategic investments » in sectors such as logistics, energy, health and food.

The two countries are already linked by economic and trade agreements, a legacy from the days when their relations were excellent. The UAE has shares in giants like Trendyol (online shopping site) and Getir (delivery company), which dominate the Turkish market. The dramatic fall of the Turkish lira in the markets creates opportunities that big Emirati investors could take advantage of.

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The meeting between the two leaders confirms the geopolitical recomposition underway in the Middle East, which began at the start of the year, with the lifting of the embargo imposed on Qatar by its Gulf neighbors. The logic of the blocs that have structured the region since the “Arab Spring” of 2011, with on the one hand the Saudi-Emirati axis, the spearhead of the counter-revolution, and, on the other, the Turkish-Emirati axis. Qatari, sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood, is gradually crumbling. The region is returning to a more fluid diplomacy, even if the grievances accumulated between the two camps are far from all resolved.

« Ensuring economic prosperity »

During the ten very eventful years which followed the uprisings of 2011, Turkey and the Emirati federation each tried to advance their pawns in the region, the first in the name of a shady neo-Ottomanism, the second in the name of the anti-terrorism and authoritarian stabilization. This diplomatic adventurism led them to systematically support opposing camps, whether in Egypt, Tunisia and especially Libya, where Ankara sponsors the Tripolitan camp, against Marshal Haftar, champion of Cyrenaica, who is favored by the UAE.

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