UAE officials are expected to sign agreements with Turkey, including “renewing previous commitments” during the Turkish president’s planned visit, a senior Turkish official has said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to arrive in the Emirates in February, the official told state news agency Wam on Friday.
“Our president’s visit to the UAE is currently confirmed and the preparations are ongoing. This is going to be a testament to the improved ties between our countries,” said Mustafa Sentop, Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.
“We believe that the leaders of Turkey and the UAE standing next to each other will deliver an important message on its own. The objective is to further strengthen the bilateral relations. There are mutual efforts to conclude new agreements and to renew previous commitments to cover a wider range in our current co-operation.”
On Thursday, the Speaker of the Turkish Parliament met his Emirati counterpart Saqr Ghobash, the Speaker of the Federal National Council, in Abu Dhabi. They discussed developing parliamentary relations between the two countries.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, met Mr Erdogan in Ankara two months ago.
During the visit, the UAE announced setting up a $10 billion investment fund in Turkey.
“Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed’s visit to Turkey was an important step in carrying forward our relationship to a new level. Co-operation agreements were signed on important matters,” Mr Sentop told Wam.
“Our goal is to [strengthen] the co-operation between Turkey and the UAE in the fields of climate change, energy, water and food security, in addition to health, agriculture, logistics, infrastructure, finance and tourism. I believe that both parties are ready to set new targets for further investments and co-operation.
“Turkey attaches great importance to the co-operation with the UAE. We believe that strengthening our relations will not only contribute to our mutual interests, but also to the prosperity and stability of our region. I believe that our counterparts in the UAE share the same view in terms of contributing together to the regional stability and peace.”
The UAE is Turkey’s top trading partner among the GCC countries. Bilateral trade between the two countries in 2020 reached $8 billion. The Turkish official said the trade in the first 10 months of 2021 amounted to $6.4bn.
“The UAE is also an important investor in Turkey and ranks second among the GCC countries,” he said.
The country has “significant investments” in tourism, banking, as well as in ports and retail, he said.
In an interview with Bloomberg last week, Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said the UAE was looking to double or triple its trade with Turkey by capitalising on its logistical ties with the rest of the world.
Mr Sentop believes that the current volume of bilateral trade is “still far from reflecting our potential”.
But he told Wam that, to date, Turkish contractors have undertaken 141 projects worth $13 billion in the UAE.
“Our companies have been investing in and are part of the UAE market for over 10 years. Turkish investments [in the UAE] amount to $720 million,” he said.
“In the coming years, we wish to increase our investment share in the UAE in the fields of logistics, finance, renewable energy and infrastructure.”
The latest agreement between the two countries was signed on Wednesday. The Turkish and Emirati central banks had agreed a nearly $5 billion swap deal in local currencies.
“We believe that [with] the visit of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, to Turkey, as well as the visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the UAE, which is planned in February, the positive momentum in the relations between our countries will be elevated and there will be further development to our economic relations,” the Speaker of the Turkish Parliament said.
“With the agreements reached during these visits, I believe that mutual investments between our countries will enhance rapidly in the coming period.”