Turkey's President Erdogan concludes UAE trip with Expo 2020 Dubai visit

He delivered a public address on Turkey's Expo 'National Day'

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan concluded his trip to the UAE with a visit to the Expo 2020 Dubai, where he said that countries should “act together to achieve a brighter future” in a public address.

The Turkish leader was in the UAE on his first official trip to the Emirates in almost a decade.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, welcomed Mr Erdogan to the world’s fair on Tuesday, the second and last day of the Turkish president's trip to the UAE.

“Today, I received President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Expo Dubai. The visit establishes a new phase of co-operation and strategic partnership between the UAE and Turkey,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.

“We see great prospects in our economic and development relations with Turkey. I am optimistic about the stability and great prosperity led by the two countries in the region.”

Turkey marked its Expo “National Day” on Tuesday, which included a flag-raising ceremony that was attended by Mr Erdogan, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, and Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Co-operation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai.

In his public address, Mr Erdogan commended the UAE for hosting the Expo, despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am truly happy to be with you on the occasion of the Expo 2020 Dubai Turkish National Day. I congratulate the friendly and sisterly UAE for the large scale event despite the pandemic conditions,” he said.

“The progress achieved by the UAE on the basis of the leadership and vision of the late Sheikh Zayed is truly commendable.

“One of the works that reflects the exemplary breakthrough of the Emirates is undoubtedly the Expo in Dubai.

“I also find the theme of Expo — connecting minds, creating the future — as extremely meaningful. We should think about a brighter future together, act together and unite on common ground to achieve it.”

Mr Erdogan also said that the “disaster and new challenges” faced by the world, especially in environment and health, is leading countries to seek solutions together.

Turkey’s pavilion is located in the Sustainability District of the Expo, and highlights some of the environmental efforts it is making to counter climate change.

“Achieving sustainability in every field from agriculture, energy, environment to economy emerges as the primary goal because we see the environment as God’s work,” he said.

“We believe that protecting the environment, which is the common life space of all people, is an obligation and not a blessing.”

He spoke about Turkey’s Zero Waste project, which has prevented up to 2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and saved 265 million trees from being cut down since the initiative was launched in 2017.

Sheikh Nahyan said that Turkey and the UAE have many common interests.

These include trade, investment, renewable energy, agriculture, food security, industry, development and innovation and tourism.

“This is rewarding to both brotherly peoples who have cultural, religious, and solid historical ties,” he said.

Turkish folk dancing and music near the Turkish pavilion attracted a large crowd. Visitors said they were thrilled that relations between the two countries were improving.

Basar Yigit, 40, who has called Dubai his home for the past seven years, said the president’s visit meant a “great step forward” for the UAE and Turkey’s relationship.

“Turkey and the UAE’s relationship was not very stable, especially for the past two years. Now I see that it is the best time for relations,” he said.

“Turkey and UAE are establishing a strategic relationship. It will also positively affect people who are doing business.

“He’s our president and we’re very happy to see him in this country.”

Ismail Yilmaz, 50, who has also been living in the UAE for many years, said that the UAE is an important market for Turkey and that businesses would benefit from the successful visit.

“The relations were problematic for a long time and this change would be good for both countries.

“With this visit, the relations would be even better. Hopefully, the trade volume would get higher.”

Updated: February 15, 2022, 2:35 PM