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Turkiye-Arab relations to flourish with Erdogan's re-election: Experts

June 1, 2023 at 1:49 pm

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan flanked by his wife Emine Erdogan addresses the crowd at the Presidential Complex to celebrate reelection victory in presidential runoff in Ankara, Turkiye on May 28, 2023 [Murat Kula – Anadolu Agency]

Arab experts have said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s re-election will advance Turkish-Arab relations to greater horizons, Anadolu Agency reports.

Erdogan won last Sunday’s runoff vote with 52.16 per cent.

Continuous development

“Prior to the Turkish elections, there was a path of normalisation between Turkiye and Arab countries,” Ali Bakir, a Professor of International Relations at the Ibn Khaldun Centre at Qatar University, told Anadolu.

Bakir stated that the Turkish-Arab Gulf relations “will witness a focus on investment aspects, and cooperation in the military and defence fields, in addition to tourism and energy.”

He further said the Turkish-Egyptian relations “will witness a higher level of normalisation between the two countries.”

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“In addition to bilateral relations and trade and investment exchange, efforts will focus on the issue of the eastern Mediterranean and possible border demarcation, in addition to the Libyan crisis,” Bakır added.

Return of refugees

“Relations with Libya continue with the same momentum. Turkish-Algerian relations may witness intensification in terms of focusing on economic relations, the energy sector and investment, while the focus will be on trade and defence with Morocco,” Bakir stated.

The Turkish side will seek to calm the situation in the Palestinian Territories in the event of an Israeli escalation, in addition to completing talks with Tel Aviv regarding the possibility of establishing a gas pipeline from Israel to Europe through Cyprus and Turkiye, according to Bakir.

Regarding Syria, Bakir said: “I do not think that the Turkish President will meet the head of the Syrian regime any time soon.”

“I think Bashar Al-Assad will be given the choice of achieving progress on three issues: fighting terrorism, ensuring the safe return of refugees, achieving progress in the political process, otherwise launching a military operation,” he added.

According to the researcher, the focus will be on cooperation between Turkiye, the Arab countries and the international community with regard to financing the construction of cities to accommodate refugees in the liberated areas of Syria.

He said: “Turkish-Qatari relations will witness more alliances in the coming period.”

New policy

Taha Odeh Oglu, a researcher on Turkish affairs, said the next stage would witness “a new policy for Turkiye with the Arab countries.”

“Turkish economy requires forging good relations with a large number of Arab, Islamic and Gulf countries, in particular,” Oglu told Anadolu.

“We noticed that the Turkish-Saudi relationship has reached an advanced stage, and there is information that President Erdogan will visit Saudi Arabia after this victory,” he added.

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Oglu noted that “last March, Riyadh provided a deposit of $5 billion in favour of the Turkish Central Bank, which strengthened the confidence of foreign investors in Turkiye.”

He also referred to the comprehensive economic partnership agreement signed by the UAE with Turkiye last March, explaining that “the Turkish-Emirati relationship has reached an advanced stage through the agreements between the two parties.”

In Oglu’s opinion, the next stage will witness a development in the Turkish-Egyptian rapprochement, explaining that “the two countries are very important in the Middle East.”

“We expect Turkish-Arab initiatives to find a solution to the thorny problems in the region, starting with the situation in Syria, and developments in Sudan, Libya and Iraq, all of which are at the forefront and priorities of the new government.”

More investments

“Turkiye will move toward warmer relations with the Gulf states and Egypt, given the common economic interests,” Egyptian writer, Yasser Abdel Aziz, told Anadolu.

Abdel Aziz said “the development of Ankara and Cairo’s relations opens up great prospects for both parties.”

“President Erdogan’s words were clear that the return will be safe and dignified. This position is motivated by the atmosphere of Syria’s return to the Arab League and its participation in the Jeddah summit on 19 May,” Abdel Aziz stated.

The Egyptian writer further said that Turkish-Saudi relations “will witness more cooperation in the coming period, especially in investments.”

He highlighted “the importance of Gulf countries standing by Turkiye in the earthquake disaster last February.”

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