UAE Crown Prince invites Turkish ambassador for private meeting, as relations improve

Originally posted to The Middle East Monitor website, 18 November 2021

The Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) invited the Turkish ambassador for a private meeting yesterday, in another sign of improved relations between Ankara and Abu Dhabi.

Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, hosted ambassador Tugay Tuncer at his court yesterday, holding a private meeting with him at the end.

In a tweet by Tuncer, he said that “I am honoured to be invited to the assembly of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. I see the goodwill shown to me by the UAE leadership and people as a confirmation of the ties of brotherhood between our countries, and I express my gratitude.”

The invitation came a week before bin Zayed is due to visit Ankara next week, which would be the first such visit by the Emirati Crown Prince in almost a decade. Bin Zayed’s meeting with Tuncer is a positive sign that the visit is on track to go ahead, in an effort to discuss ways to improve bilateral relations.

The improvement of relations comes after years of rivalry and hostility between the two countries, in which Turkey supported popular protests and movements in the Arab Spring, while the UAE attempted to undermine Turkey’s interests and its allies in Libya and Syria.

Ankara also accused Abu Dhabi of involvement in the attempted coup in 2016, leading to the deterioration in relations and the subsequent boycott of Turkey and its goods by the UAE and other Gulf Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia.

The visit by the Crown Prince is expected to be the “beginning of a new era,” as Turkish officials have described it. It will also come three months after the Crown Prince’s brother, the UAE’s national security adviser, Tahnoun bin Zayed, met Erdogan in August for talks regarding new Emirati investments in Turkey, which reportedly plan to amount to around $10 billion and more.

Earlier this month, the UAE also provided Turkey with $10 million to help rebuild areas in the country which were destroyed by rampant wildfires this summer.

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