UAE delegation in Ankara for defense talks – Turkish source

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ANKARA, Dec 7 (Reuters) – A delegation of United Arab Emirates government officials is in Ankara to discuss “opportunities for cooperation” with Turkey’s defense industry, a Turkish official said on Tuesday.

Ankara and Abu Dhabi signed deals for billions of dollars in investments two weeks ago and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said they would herald a “new era” in relations. Read more

As part of a charm offensive launched last year, Turkey also moved to restore ties with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, but those talks have brought little public improvement.

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The UAE delegation met with the government-run Defense Industries Branch (SSB) on Monday, the official said on condition of anonymity.

SSB Chairman Ismail Demir said over the weekend that the two countries have the potential to work together in the defense sector, indicating that Abu Dhabi has shown interest in the Turkish sector.

“When we look at our defense industry numbers, we see that our defense industry relationships have continued even in times of crisis. There have been contacts even when relationships were not at their most high,” Demir said.

“I want to emphasize that these contacts will be better when the relationship improves.”

The Defense Industries Directorate and Aselsan did not respond to questions about the talks. The UAE media office and defense ministry also did not respond.

Turkey said in September it was in talks with the United Arab Emirates over energy investments, such as power generation. The United Arab Emirates, whose sovereign wealth funds have made significant investments in Turkish online grocer Getir and e-commerce platform Trendyol, said it was looking to deepen its economic ties with Ankara.

The UAE has accelerated its efforts to step back from regional conflicts and refocus on the economy. Its ties with Turkey had been strained due to the role of Islamist groups in the uproar following the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, and the countries were on opposite sides in the Libyan conflict.

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Reporting by Ece Toksabay Additional reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi in Abu Dhabi Editing by Daren Butler and Nick Macfie

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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