Dialogue and cooperation between Turkiye and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is important for peace and stability of the entire region, the Turkish president said on Monday.

“We do not consider the security and stability of all brotherly countries in the Gulf region separate from our own,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a news conference at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport before leaving for a two-day visit to the UAE on the invitation of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“We aim to improve the momentum to bring back our relations to the level they deserve. During my visit, we will take steps that will shape the next 50 years of our friendship and brotherhood with the UAE,” he said.

Erdogan, who last visited the UAE in 2013, said Turkiye and the UAE started a new era in bilateral relations with the visit of the Abu Dhabi crown prince to Ankara last November.

“The complementary nature of the two economies points to a potential far beyond the current figures. The purpose of our visit is to realize this potential quickly,” Erdogan said, adding that he believes Ankara and Abu Dhabi “will go a long way in this direction.”

With a trade volume nearing $8 billion, the UAE is among Turkiye’s leading trading partners, he said.

“The UAE is the 10th largest market of the overseas contracting sector in Turkiye,” Erdogan said. The Gulf country also makes “significant contributions to the dynamic investment environment” in Turkiye, he added.

“Turkish construction companies in the UAE have so far undertaken 141 projects worth $13 billion,” the Turkish president elaborated.

Steps to improve relations

Erdogan underlined that establishing partnerships in areas of high technology, venture capital, and startup companies stands out especially in terms of future cooperation opportunities.

“On the occasion of the visit, we also aim to take steps that will improve our relations in many fields from transportation to advanced technologies, from the defense industry to health, agriculture, culture, and education,” he said.

Erdogan also strongly condemned the attacks against Abu Dhabi last month, saying that he is against all forms of terrorism and emphasizing the importance of cooperation between the countries in their region against terrorism.

Accompanying Erdogan to Abu Dhabi is a high-level delegation, including Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati, Trade Minister Mehmet Mus, Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, and Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli.

Justice and Development (AK) Party’s spokesperson Omer Celik, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, and presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin also joined them.

First Lady Emine Erdogan could not accompany the president as she has not recovered from COVID-19 yet.

On Sunday, Turkiye’s Communications Directorate announced that bilateral relations between Turkiye and the UAE, and steps to deepen cooperation would be discussed during Erdogan’s visit.

The two sides will also exchange views on regional and international developments with an understanding of establishing and maintaining peace and stability in the region.

The two leaders will attend the signing ceremony of a dozen of agreements after meetings to be held one-on-one and with delegations.

The agreements will cover various areas, including investment, defense, transportation, agriculture, health, and media.

Erdogan will also visit the Expo 2020 Dubai on Tuesday, where Turkiye’s national day will be celebrated.

Ties between Turkiye and the Arab world are experiencing a major thaw after years of tense relations.

The Abu Dhabi crown prince’s visit led to the announcement of a $10 billion fund for investments in Turkiye. Both countries also signed several agreements on energy, environment, finance, and trade.

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