Turkey Embarking on a “New Era of Cooperation” with Gulf Neighbours

Turkey Embarking on a “New Era of Cooperation” with Gulf Neighbours

As Turkey is facing its worst economic crisis in 20 years, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has embarked on a diplomatic reconciliation offensive with its Gulf neighbours, which began at the end of 2021 with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

Mending ties with Abu Dhabi earned the Turkish economy USD 10 billion investments in February 2022, a feat that the Turkish president is determined to replicate to prevent a further aggravation of the national economic quagmire. The Turkish lira has lost over 50% of its value over the past twelve months while inflation continues to increase to record highs. To replenish its coffers and avoid a total economic collapse similar to the one that befell its Lebanese neighbour, Turkey is hoping to find reliable creditors in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh.

Erdoğan personally welcomed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Turkey at the Presidential Palace this month where, during a two-hour meeting, the two leaders discussed multiple issues, including the possibility of deepening their trade relations and further developing their partnerships and joint projects, and declared that Saudi Arabia and Turkey were headed towards a “new era of cooperation”. The communiqué issued at the end of the meeting stated that the two parties “strongly emphasised a joint determination to start a new era of cooperation in bilateral relations … including political, economic, military, security and cultural relations.

A rapprochement with Turkey also allows Saudi Arabia to broaden its alliances in the region at a time when the focus of the United States appears to be shifting from the Middle East.  US President Joe Biden is expected in the region in mid-July and a meeting is likely to take place in the city of Jeddah amid heightened global geopolitical tensions.

Ankara is also endeavouring to improve its relations with Egypt and Israel after several years of tension. Turkey and Israel are reportedly negotiating the construction of a gas pipeline which could serve as a long-term solution for the transportation of liquefied natural gas from the South of the Mediterranean to Europe.

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