Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has touched upon the recent agreements the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) signed with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), warning President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan not to ever privatize and sell the state-owned defense companies.
He pointed out that Erdoğan's welcoming of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan in the capital Ankara last week was hypocritical as the Turkish government had previously accused the UAE of being a strong supporter of the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016 in Turkey.
“The UAE's crown prince was welcomed at the airport. The Turkish National Anthem was sung, but you were referring to him as an 'ignoble' [man]. The Turkish Republic welcomed the financiers and planners of July 15, 2016 with red carpet,” Kılıçdaroğlu said during his party's parliamentary group meeting on Nov. 30.
The failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016 marked a milestone in the history of UAE-Turkish relations. Pro-government Turkish media outlets accused the UAE of backing the coup, especially after some UAE-based media such as Sky News and Al Arabiya openly declared their support for it.
“I call on Erdoğan and the UAE's crown prince from here. If you seize the [Turkish] military's HAVELSAN, ROKETSAN and ASELSAN, I will put you through the wringer,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to the three main defense companies of the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation.
Erdoğan and Abu Dhabi's powerful crown prince Nov. 24 oversaw the signing of several investment and cooperation deals, as Turkey and the UAE move to repair relations and boost economic ties.
The crown prince was welcomed at the Turkish presidential complex in Ankara in a ceremony that included a 21-gun salute.
During the visit, while a top Emirati official said the UAE has alloated $10 billion for investment in Turkey.
Although Erdoğan used to count Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed among his main enemies until very recently, he set aside the conflicts between the two countries amid the the deepening economic crisis in Turkey.
The privatization wave got started in Turkey in the 1980s, but a substantial portion of it took place under the AKP-government in the last two decades, with people questioning now what is left to sell.