Turkey, UAE leaders hold phone call in sign of improving ties

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken by phone with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) de facto ruler, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in a new sign of improving ties between the regional rivals.

A statement released by Erdogan’s office on Tuesday said: “Relations between the countries and regional issues were discussed in the talks”.

The UAE’s state news agency WAM said both leaders discussed “the prospects of reinforcing the relations between the two nations in a way that serves their common interests and their two peoples”.

The statements came two weeks after the Turkish president said, during a rare meeting with UAE National Security Advisor Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, that the two countries had made progress in improving relations.

Erdogan said at the time that the talks, which focused on economic cooperation, could lead to significant UAE investment in Turkey.

The discussions come as Turkey has made wider moves to ease tensions with several Arab powers heightened by the conflict in Libya, internal Gulf disputes and rival claims to Eastern Mediterranean waters.

Ankara and Abu Dhabi have backed rival ideological groups for years, with the former notably supporting the Muslim Brotherhood movement, an instrumental force in the so-called Arab Spring uprisings in which a number of regional countries overthrew autocrats.

Leaders in the natural resource-rich Gulf have long worried such unrest would reach home.

Turkey last year accused the UAE of bringing chaos to the Middle East through interventions in Yemen and Libya. – Reuters