UAE President Sheikh Mohamed, Turkey’s Erdogan discuss elections, bilateral relations

UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed discussed bilateral relations and the elections in Turkey with his Turkish counterpart in a phone call, state-run WAM news agency reported on Thursday.

The Gulf country’s ruler also congratulated President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the “success of the electoral process.”

The two countries signed a trade agreement in March, which is expected to be valued at $40 billion in the next five years.

The UAE started negotiations with Turkey on a bilateral trade deal last year after a warming in political relations following the UAE President’s visit to the country in 2021, during which the UAE set up a $10 billion investment fund. Erdogan reciprocated with a visit to the UAE in February 2022, marking his first visit to the Gulf country in nearly a decade.

Bilateral trade between the two nations hit $18.9 billion in 2022, up 40 percent from 2021. Turkey is the UAE’s sixth largest trading partner for non-oil trade.

Erdogan’s ruling AK Party and its nationalist allies surprised pollsters by winning a strong majority in parliament earlier this week.

In the presidential vote, Erdogan is headed for a runoff on May 28 against challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu after falling just shy of the 50 percent threshold needed to win outright in the first round.

Kilicdaroglu, the CHP chair, received 44.9 percent in what was seen as the biggest electoral challenge to Erdogan’s 20-year rule. A third candidate, Sinan Ogan obtained 5.17 percent.

The UAE President “expressed hope these elections will benefit and serve the greater good of the Turkish people,” the WAM report added.

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