Turkey’s relations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which have been rocky for the past decade, have started to mellow in recent months.
Yesterday, another strong step towards normalizing relations was taken with the visit of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ), the UAE’s de facto ruler, to Ankara.
Let's recall what happened prior to this visit.
Following the long negotiations and deliberations carried out by intelligence units behind the scenes, on August 18, President Tayyip Erdoğan received the United Arab Emirates’ National Security Advisor Tahnoun bin Zayed, and a new era was “unveiled” with the announcement of this visit to the public.
A second step was taken with the phone call between Erdoğan and MBZ 13 days following this face-to-face meeting.
When asked in a TV interview about the surprise photo from the Presidential Compound on August 18, Erdoğan had the following to say:
“Ups and downs are possible between governments, and this is the case here. We’ve come to this stage by holding meetings with the Abu Dhabi administration, especially our intelligence organizations, for about a few months now.”
The main reason the United Arab Emirates displayed a hostile attitude towards the administration in Turkey was due to the fact that the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party has had a profound effect on the Arab world.
They interpreted this situation as a major “threat” to their sphere of influence, and for several years they have been supporting all kinds of schemes against the AK Party.
This includes the decision to “fund” the 2016 coup attempt.
So, what did happen?
This is the “million-dollar” question we face.
Before moving on to the end result, one needs to correctly understand how it all unfolded.
This new process, which is dubbed as the thawing of the ice or “burying the hatchet,” was designed to progress on a pragmatic basis with a view of “prioritizing” economic ties.
As reflected in the news and the statements of those involved, the Abu Dhabi administration plans to return to Turkey both directly and through economic investments with hot money.
When the developments I mentioned above took place in August, I spoke to circles familiar with behind-the-scenes knowledge of this process, and they said the following: "We made preparations, negotiated, mutually discussed matters, and an agreement was reached."
Now, let's get to that question.
What was behind it all?
Sources see direct links between the United Arab Emirates' shelving of its policy of "conflict" with Turkey and the results of the U.S. elections.
What is being said through the grapevine is:
- Trump had given the UAE a great deal of room to maneuver, but that attitude has changed under Biden.
- The Biden administration decided to temporarily halt arms sales to the UAE and Saudi Arabia due to their role in the Yemen war.
Furthermore, the U.S. decision to return to nuclear negotiations with Iran brought about a change in the Abu Dhabi administration's foreign policy.
Well, how could a change in the U.S. administration alter Abu Dhabi's approach towards Turkey?
When it comes to this aspect of the question, sources say the following about the normalization of relations with the UAE:
-Following these developments, the UAE realized that sparring with Turkey had backed them into a corner. For the United Arab Emirates, the struggle against Iran is a matter of life and death. The barbs traded with Turkey, on the other hand, stem from a “conflict of interest.”
- Faced with this new situation, they saw that there was no point in further adding fuel to the fire in their row with Turkey.