Turkey, UAE sign accords on energy, technology at talks: officials

ANKARA: Turkey and the United Arab Emirates signed accords on energy and technology investments on Wednesday after talks between President Tayyip Erdogan and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan in Ankara.

Sheikh Mohammed’s meeting with Erdogan, the first such visit in years, comes as the two countries work to mend frayed ties after a period of bitter regional rivalry, and amid a currency crisis in Turkey.

The memorandums of understanding were signed between the Abu Dhabi Development Holding (ADQ), Turkish Wealth Fund (TVF), and the Turkish Presidency Investment Office, as well as with some Turkish companies.

The agreements highlight the pivot towards economic partnership after a battle for regional influence since the Arab uprisings erupted a decade ago. The disputes have extended to the eastern Mediterranean and Gulf, before Ankara launched a charm offensive in the region last year.

Following the talks, Sheikh Mohammed said he had “fruitful” talks with Erdogan on strengthening ties between Turkey and the UAE.

“I look forward to exploring new cooperation opportunities to benefit our two nations and advance our mutual development goals,” he said on Twitter.

ADQ signed an accord on investing in Turkish technology firms and on establishing a technology-oriented fund, while Abu Dhabi Ports also signed an agreement on port and logistics cooperation.

A deal between ADQ and Turkish company Kalyon on energy and infrastructure, another with CCN Group on health cooperation, and a third with Turkey’s Presidency Investment Office on renewable energy were also among the agreements, a Turkish official said.

$10 billion fund

The UAE announced it was establishing a $10 billion fund to support mainly strategic investments in Turkey, including in the health and energy fields, its state news agency WAM said.

“Problems with the UAE are now behind us. We are entering a period based fully on cooperation and mutual benefit,” said another official familiar with preparations for Wednesday’s visit, and added the UAE investment would ultimately be in the billions of dollars.

The Turkish and Emirati central banks also signed a cooperation agreement on Wednesday. Earlier, two sources said they were holding talks about a potential swap agreement.

Turkey’s central bank has previously sought swap deals with other countries as a source of hard currency to build reserves and support the lira, which has declined as much as 45% this year.

It has swap agreements worth $6 billion with China, $15 billion with Qatar and $2 billion with South Korea, for a total of $23 billion.

Turkey said in September it was in talks with the UAE over investments in energy such as power generation, while the UAE, whose sovereign wealth funds have made significant investments in Turkish online grocer Getir and e-commerce platform Trendyol, has said it seeks deeper trade and economic ties with Ankara.

State broadcaster TRT Haber said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusogu will visit Abu Dhabi in mid-December.

Ankara, at odds with several regional countries as well as its Western allies over various issues, has launched similar normalisation efforts with its rivals Egypt and Saudi Arabia, though those channels have yielded little public improvement.

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