Turkiye is working to improve its existing ties with Gulf countries, the Turkish foreign minister said on Monday.

Mevlut Cavusoglu made the remarks during a news conference with his Bahraini counterpart Abdullatif Bin Rashid Alzayani in Bahrain’s capital Manama.

As part of a two-day official visit, the Turkish minister also met Bahraini crown prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa at the Gudaibiya Palace.

Saying that he was glad to be back in “friendly” Bahrain after five years, Cavusoglu thanked his counterpart and his colleagues for their hospitality and productive meetings.

Cavusoglu said the meetings are an indication of increasing contacts with Gulf nations, and that he would be honored to host Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifain in Turkiye as soon as possible.

Pointing out that there is a relative coldness between Turkiye and several Gulf countries, the country’s top diplomat said: “What we all desire is that there are no problems between friendly countries and that cooperation comes to the fore. We will continue to work together in this direction. We will continue to work together on the peaceful solution to all problems in our region.”

Reminding that talks are being held to overcome standoffs, he said Turkiye started a dialogue process with Egypt and held two meetings at the level of deputy foreign ministers.

Noting that Turkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in February, Cavusoglu said Turkiye’s national day will be celebrated at the Expo 2020 in Dubai.

He said dialogue process with Saudi Arabia continues to improve bilateral relations and take the relationship as it was in the past. “I believe there will be positive developments in the future.”

Cavusoglu said a meeting of the Joint Economic Commission between Bahrain and Turkiye is scheduled for March 23.

He said bilateral trade increased in 2020, and the goal is to increase the current volume of $460 million to $750 million by 2023.

The Turkish minister also condemned recent Houthi attacks on the UAE and Saudi Arabia. “Turkiye is against all forms of terrorism … we are in solidarity with the UAE and the targeted countries, including Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Earlier, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had also said that Turkiye is strengthening relations with all Gulf countries, and is open to dialogue to clear any misunderstandings.

Ties between Turkiye and the Arab world are experiencing a major thaw after years of tense relations. Late last year, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan visited Ankara and announced a $10 billion fund for investments in Turkiye.

*Writing by Dilara Hamit

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