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Türkiye Signs $50.7billion Agreement With the UAE as President Erdoğan Concludes Gulf Tour

In the second half of July 2023, Türkiye worked towards strengthening its fintech hub and improving bilateral relations as it signed 18 agreements with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Qatar and the UAE, with UAE agreements totalling $50.7billion. 

In addition to the agreements, Türkiye also signed a joint declaration covering various areas: investment, industry, healthcare, renewable energy and the space industry to name a few. Erkan Kork, chairman of paytech PayFix, stated: “Türkiye has a goal of becoming a fintech hub. Just like in many other sectors, Türkiye can also become a hub for Gulf countries in the fintech field.”

Türkiye was able to improve its standing with these countries as a result of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan‘s Gulf tour. Across the one-and-a-half-week tour, over 200 business delegates attended meetings coinciding with Türkiye’s currency attraction efforts and Gulf countries investment diversification goals.

Saudi Arabia

The President’s first stop was in Saudi Arabia. Following tensions that arose from the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in the Kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, both Türkiye and Saudi Arabia have been working towards fixing relations.

Erdoğan visit to Saudi Arabia in April 2022 marked the turning of a new leaf between the two countries. The KSA’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman also travelled to Türkiye in June 2023, but not before the KSA deposited $5billion into Türkiye’s central bank through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD). This gesture was a relief act following the earthquakes which devasted the country.

On the road to recovery, President Erdoğan met with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his most recent tour. Prior to leaving for Jeddah, Erdoğan said two-way trade with Gulf countries has risen. In fact, in the last 20 years, it has gone from $1.6billion to about $22billion.

Erdoğan said: “With the business forums to be organised, we will look for ways to move this figure much further.”

Jeddah, the second largest city in Saudi Arabia by population

After the stop in the KSA, Erdoğan landed in Doha, where Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohamed al Attiyah greeted him. This was later followed by Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who spoke to Erdoğan one-on-one after the welcoming ceremony.

The Emir and President spoke not only about the economy but about various other methods that could help both countries. The Turkish and Qatari foreign ministers also signed a declaration during Erdogan’s visit marking a half-century since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties.

According to the Turkish news outlet, Hurryiet, the declaration emphasises that “both countries share a similar approach on various regional and international issues.” It points to the High Strategic Committee mechanism as a concrete indicator of the strong partnership between the two brotherly nations, with the committee members convening annually since 2015. The committee has played a major part in the signing of nearly 100 documents aimed at enhancing bilateral cooperation in diverse sectors and fields.

Doha is the capital and most populous city of Qatar IMAGE SOURCE GETTY

Erdoğan concluded his trip by speaking to UAE President Mohamed Bin Zayed. The two signed over $50billion worth of agreements that included an extradition accord, energy and natural resources development, space and defence cooperation, state news agency WAM reported.

The agreements also discussed earthquake relief bonds for Türkiye: Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), meaning up to $8.5billion can be sent.

A MoU with Export Credit Bank of Turkiye will also see ADQ finance up to $3billion in credit facilities to support Turkish exports.

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Abu Dhabi
Türkiye could become a fintech hub

Erkan Kork, chairman of PayFix, stated that the visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan across the Gulf marked a prime period for boosted relations between Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.

He said: “We had significant discussions in the fintech sector. There is a strong desire to invest in Türkiye. During this process, our Investment Office President, Burak Dağlıoğlu, is making tremendous efforts to attract investments to Türkiye, and we are grateful to them. We had crucial discussions in the financial technology sector. Türkiye is truly a land of opportunities. As our President mentioned, Türkiye aims to become a fintech hub. Türkiye can potentially be a hub for Gulf countries in the fintech field, just like it’s in many other sectors.”


  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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