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UAE wants to normalise relations with Turkey, senior official says

Gargash made the remarks on Sky News [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 January, 2021

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The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said Abu Dhabi wants to normalise relations with Turkey.

The UAE wants to normalise relations with Turkey that includes mutual respect for sovereignty, a senior UAE official said, after a bitter public row between the two countries.

Abu Dhabi called on Turkey to reconsider its relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood to improve its ties with other Arab countries, the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said.

"What we want to tell Turkey is, we want to normalise our relations within the framework of mutual respect for sovereignty," Gargash said in an interview with Sky News.

Gargash also called on Ankara to stop its "support to Muslim Brotherhood and restore its relations" with the Arab world.

Last week, the senior UAE official also called Turkey his country's number one trading partner and said: "We don't cherish any feuds with Turkey."

The warmer tone from Abu Dhabi towards its regional rival comes after the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) declared the end of a dispute with Qatar with the signing of the Al-Ula Declaration in Saudi Arabia. 

Riyadh and its allies - the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt - in June 2017 enacted a blockade on Qatar that included closing airspace to Qatari planes over claims Doha backs Islamist groups and was too close to Iran. Qatar always denied the charges.

Among the demands issued by the blockading quartet in 2017 was the closure of a Turkish military base in Qatar. The Al-Ula Declaration, signed at the annual GCC Summit in the Saudi kingdom, marked the end of the three-year dispute without any of the 13 demands being met.

Last week, Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said Doha's relations with Iran and Turkey will not be affected by its recent reconciliation agreement with the blockading states.

"Bilateral relationships are mainly driven by a sovereign decision of the country... [and] the national interest," he said in an interview with the financial daily.

"So there is no effect on our relationship with any other country.”

Read also: Saudi Arabia sacked imams for not warning against Muslim Brotherhood, minister confirms

In 2017, Qatar's air, land and sea links with its neighbours were cut, forcing it to increase imports for food and medicine from Turkey, Oman and others.

Relations between Turkey and the UAE have been particularly bitter in recent years, while US tensions with Iran at a high. 

Saudi Arabia has also taken active steps to patch damaged relations with Turkey.

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