This time last year, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey appeared to be on opposing sides of a range of issues spanning the broader Middle East and North Africa region. But recently, leaders from the two countries have started to talk again. Concerns in 2019 and 2020 that a regional “cold war” pitting Emirati and Turkish interests against each other in Libya, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Horn of Africa and even the Caucasus have given way to a thawing of relations. The shift in approach by Abu Dhabi toward deescalating regional points of tension is part of a broader effort by the kingdom’s rulers to recalibrate their foreign policy stance after a period of arguable overextension. 

The highest-profile indication of a rapprochement between Abu Dhabi and Ankara was a mid-August visit to Turkey by the UAE’s national security adviser, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Weeks after that trip, Turkish President Recep…

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