Since the early 2000s relations between Turkey and the Gulf monarchies have improved and cooperation has progressively deepened in several domains. The gradual rapprochement between Ankara and the Gulf rulers was fostered by crucial changes both in the Middle East geopolitical context and in Turkish policy towards its Arab neighbourhood. Furthermore, high economic growth in both Turkey and the GCC played a key role in strengthening bilateral ties. Although economic considerations have had the lion's share in shaping the Turkish-GCC relationship, mutual interests have also emerged in the field of regional security and counterterrorism and a strategic dialogue started in 2008. The outbreak of the crisis in Syria in the light of the Arab Spring marked the beginning of a new phase in Turkey-GCC relations, also raising questions on future developments.
Valeria Talbot, ISPI Reserch Senior Fellow