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DUBAI: Turkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has arrived in the United Arab Emirates, the final leg of a Gulf trip aimed at drumming up investments, Emirati state media said Wednesday.

The tour included stops in Qatar and Saudi Arabia and saw Erdogan preside over the signing of lucrative deals to boost the ailing Turkish economy.

“Erdogan has arrived in the UAE on an official visit, accompanied by Turkiye’s First Lady Emine Erdogan,” the UAE’s official WAM news agency said early Wednesday, using an alternate spelling for Turkiye.

WAM released footage of Erdogan and his wife disembarking from a presidential plane in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, where they were greeted by Emirati officials.

The Turkish leader flew in from Qatar, where he met with ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Earlier, during Erdogan’s stop in Saudi Arabia, Riyadh signed a major drone procurement contract with a Turkish defence firm.

The trip comes as Turkiye battles a currency collapse and soaring inflation that have battered its economy.

Ankara has recently repaired relations with Gulf states including the UAE and Saudi Arabia after years of rivalry following the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.

Turkish support for organisations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood initially spurred a rupture with Gulf states, which view the movement as a terrorist group.

Relations soured further following a Saudi-led blockade of Turkish ally Qatar by its Gulf Arab neighbours.

The embargo was lifted in 2021 but ties with Turkiye remained rocky.

With relations on the mend, Erdogan visited the UAE last year to bolster political and economic ties.

Last month, the UAE’s president, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, met with Erdogan in Turkiye shortly after May polls saw the Turkish leader clinch another five-year term.

Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz also met with the Emirati president during a June visit to the UAE.

The diplomatic thaw with the UAE has resulted in increased investment in Turkiye.

In March, Turkiye and the UAE signed a free trade agreement that aims to increase bilateral commerce to $40 billion annually within five years.

Last year, the two countries signed a nearly $5-billion currency swap deal to boost Ankara’s dilapidated foreign currency reserves.

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Az_Iz Jul 20, 2023 08:43pm
Turkey, Iran, Iraq and the six gulf countries have a combined PPP GDP of about $10 trillion. They should create a common market,which should benefit everyone.
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