Turkish and Emirati defense chiefs on Tuesday discussed cooperation in military training and the defense industry.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar discussed bilateral and regional matters with the chief of staff of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Lt. Gen. Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi, in the Turkish capital Ankara, according to the Defense Ministry.
They also discussed cooperation in military training and the defense industry, it said.
Akar visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in May, marking the first minister-level meeting from Turkey to the UAE in 15 years. He met Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi, that country’s minister of state for defense.
In February, Turkey and the UAE signed 13 new agreements in various fields during President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to the Gulf country.
The two countries have seen their ties affected by regional tensions, including the conflict in Libya, where the UAE and Turkey have backed opposing sides in recent years.
Turkey in 2020 accused the UAE of bringing chaos to the Middle East through its interventions in Libya and Yemen, while the UAE and several other countries criticized Turkey’s military actions. Relations hit an all-time low when Erdoğan said that Ankara could suspend diplomatic ties with the Abu Dhabi administration after the UAE-Israel deal.
Turkey also sided with Qatar in a Gulf dispute, at odds with the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, while Turkish support helped Libya’s United Nations-backed government in Tripoli drive back UAE-supported forces attempting to seize the capital. However, 2021 saw Turkey seeking warmer ties with several regional countries and longtime foes after many tumultuous years.
Converging interests have driven regional power shifts in the Middle East, mainly led by regional powerhouses Turkey and the UAE. The diplomatic maneuvering signals a growing realization across the region that the United States’ interest is moving elsewhere and that now is the time for negotiations that were unthinkable just a year ago. Ties between Turkey and the Arab world are experiencing a major thaw after years of tense relations.