Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone with the UAE’s de facto ruler, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, according to Erdogan’s office on Tuesday, in a further sign of improved relations between the regional adversaries.
“Relations between the countries and regional issues were discussed in the talks,” the statement said. It did not specify when the talks took place.
Erdogan had said two weeks ago after a rare meeting with a senior UAE official that the two countries had made progress in improving relations, which could lead to significant UAE investment in Turkey.
Ankara has moved to ease tensions with several Arab powers over 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 Turkey supporting Islamist movements, especially the Muslim Brotherhood which took part in the “Arab spring” uprisings in a bid to overthrow autocrats in the region. Wealthy Gulf leaders worry such unrest would reach home.
According to the UAE’s national news agency WAM, both presidents discussed “the prospects of bolstering relations between the two nations in a manner that promotes their joint interests and their two peoples.”
Erdogan met with UAE National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan two weeks ago to discuss economic cooperation.
Last year, Turkey accused the UAE of causing havoc in the Middle East by intervening in Libya and Yemen, while the UAE and numerous other countries condemned Turkey’s military activities.