President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) stimulated Turkey’s exports to the Gulf country, with foreign sales data for February reflecting the warming ties between the countries.

Consequently, Turkey’s exports to the UAE increased by 52.4% last month compared to the month before, according to an Anadolu Agency (AA) report that cited data by the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM).

Exports to the UAE in February reached $303.24 million, increasing by 29.1% compared to the same period of the previous year.

The Gulf country also rose to 17th place in terms of Turkey’s top export markets in February.

The visit, which was dubbed a historic development, was an important step in strengthening political and economic relations between the two countries.

It came after Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ) visited Turkey on Nov. 24, 2021, the first trip since relations froze in 2012.

During the visit, some 13 agreements were signed between Turkey and the UAE across an array of fields including the defense industry, health, climate change, industry, technology, culture, agriculture, trade, economy, land and sea transportation, youth, disaster management, meteorology and communication.

Jewelry tops exports

The jewelry industry contributed most to the exports to the UAE in February, with $90.86 million.

It was followed by the defense and aerospace industry with $35.38 million, chemicals and products with $22.74 million, the carpet industry with $15.76 million and the cereals, pulses, oilseeds and products sectors with $15.6 million.

In said period, the highest increase in foreign sales to the country on the basis of value was in the jewelry sector. The jewelry industry’s exports to the UAE increased by $44.9 million in February compared to the previous month.

Last month, the highest number of foreign sales to the UAE came from Istanbul, which contributed $162.47 million in exports.

The two countries have seen their ties affected by regional tensions, including the conflict in Libya, where the UAE and Turkey have backed opposing sides in recent years.

Turkey last year accused the UAE of bringing chaos to the Middle East through its interventions in Libya and Yemen, while the UAE and several other countries criticized Turkey’s military actions.

Relations hit an all-time low when Erdoğan said that Ankara could suspend diplomatic ties with the Abu Dhabi administration after the UAE struck an agreement with Israel.

Turkey also sided with Qatar in a Gulf dispute, putting it at odds with the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, while Turkish support last year helped Libya’s United Nations-backed government in Tripoli drive back UAE-supported forces attempting to seize the capital.

However, 2021 saw Turkey seeking warmer ties with several regional countries and longtime foes after many tumultuous years.