UAE welcomes Turkey’s new policies, says time to manage rivalry

The United Arab Emirates is looking to manage relations with long-time regional rivals Iran and Turkey through dialogue to avoid any new confrontations in the region as the Gulf nation focuses on its economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the UAE president, said on Saturday.

"Turkey's recent re-examination of its policies towards Egypt, the Brotherhood and towards Saudi Arabia and others is very welcome. And I think for us to come mid-way and reach out is very important," the Reuters cited the UAE official as saying.

Gargash’s remarks arrive amid a thaw in relations between Turkey and the UAE, which have been at odds over their respective foreign policies for decades.

Turkey has effectively thwarted attempts by the Gulf state to exert its influence in the region through a failed boycott of Turkey-ally Qatar. Turkish support of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), turned the tide against the UAE-backed forces of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in the Libyan civil war.

The two countries have also locked horns on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood, a pan-Islamist political movement that operates Islamist networks across the Middle East.

"The Turks have been very positive about what we are saying to them," Gargash said.

In August, Emirati national security advisor Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan met Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara, marking the highest-level public visit by an Emirati official to Turkey in years. After the meeting, Erdoğan said that the two countries had made progress in improving relations, which could lead to significant UAE investment in Turkey.

Gargash, during the conference, also questioned United States’ commitment to the region while expressing concern about a "looming cold war" between Washington and Beijing, Reuters reported.

Speaking on the UAE’s relations with other long-time regional rival, Iran, Gargash said he was "very positive about the reach out to Iran.’’
"Am I very positive that Iran will change its regional course? I have to say I am more realistic here, but I am betting Iran is also concerned about vacuum and escalation,’’ Gargash said.

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