Turkey, UAE sign $50b in deals

Turkey and UAE

ABU DHABI, (Reuters): The United Arab Emirates and Turkey inked on Wednesday several deals estimated to be worth $50.7 billion, during a visit by President Tayyip Erdogan to Abu Dhabi as he toured wealthy Gulf Arab nations.

Erdogan and UAE President Mohamed Bin Zayed attended the signing ceremony of the agreements that included an extradition accord, energy and natural resources development, space and defence cooperation, state news agency WAM reported.

Part of the package, Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ said it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to finance up to $8.5 billion of Turkey earthquake relief bonds. A MoU with Export Credit Bank of Turkiye will see ADQ also finance up to $3 billion in credit facilities to support Turkish exports.

“With the joint agreement we will sign, we will elevate our relations to the level of strategic partnership,” Erdogan said in remarks broadcast by Turkish state television from the ceremony.

“We want to strengthen the legal infrastructure in areas such as investment promotion, security, renewable energy and transportation,” he added.

Abu Dhabi was Erdogan’s last stop in a Gulf tour that focused on reviving Turkey’s economy that has struggled with a weakened lira, heavy deficits and chronic inflation. The trip also included Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Reaping the benefits of his diplomatic efforts, Saudi Arabia agreed on Tuesday to buy Turkish drones in the biggest defence contract in Turkey’s history.

The Turkish leader has worked to repair diplomatic ties with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi over the last two years after a decade of strained relations over Ankara’s support of political Islam and pro-democracy movements. Turkey also sent troops to Doha when Saudi Arabia and the UAE imposed a blockade on Qatar in 2017.

As ties warmed up, business resumed. Abu Dhabi agreed last year to a $5-billion swap deal in local currencies with Ankara to help its struggling lira. UAE companies have since announced several investments in Turkey.

Last month, Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz and Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek travelled to the UAE to discuss “economic cooperation opportunities” with counterparts. They met President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Ankara said.

Gulf Arab states have launched ambitious plans to diversify their economy from oil. They hope Turkey will help develop local industries and technology transfer. The drone deal with Saudi Arabia included joint production.

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