Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the UAE’s de facto ruler, will visit Turkey for the first time in years as the regional rivals work to repair frayed relations, two Turkish officials have said.
The visit, which will include talks with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, is scheduled to take place as soon as November 24. The Prince Crown visited Cyprus – divided since 1974 after a Turkish invasion – last week.
In Nicosia, he had held talks with President Nicos Anastasiades and Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides (photo).
They discussed the “situation in the Eastern Mediterranean” and strengthening cooperation between the two countries.
Last December, the UAE participated in a naval exercise with Cyprus. In January, the two countries signed a joint defense agreement.
In April, officials from the UAE, Cyprus, Israel and Greece held a first-of-its-kind meeting to discuss energy cooperation and Iran’s alleged pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
UAE and Turkey have supported opposing sides in Libya’s civil war, and their disputes extended to the eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf, before Ankara started a charm offensive in the region last year.
In August, Erdogan said Turkey and the UAE had made progress in improving ties, which could lead to significant investment in Turkey, after a rare meeting with UAE National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Two weeks after their talks, Erdogan held a phone call with Sheikh Mohammed.
The UAE foreign ministry declined to comment.
Asked about the planned visit, a spokesman for Erdogan’s AK Party did not specify a date but said talks between Ankara and Abu Dhabi on normalising ties would continue and that the progress made so far was positive.
“This rapprochement between the UAE and Turkey, this intense cooperation for the resolution of problems, is good,” Omer Celik told reporters, adding Ankara had a “comprehensive action plan and sincere approach” for resolving regional disputes.
Ankara’s efforts to repair ties come after similar overtures this year towards Egypt and Saudi Arabia which have yielded little public progress.
With political differences still running deep between Abu Dhabi and Ankara, the two sides have focused on economic ties and de-escalation, rather than resolving their ideological rift.