The United Arab Emirates released on Monday a Turkish businessman and aid worker, who had been kept in Emirati custody since February 2018, Middle East Monitor news site reported on Tuesday.
The release of Mehmet Ali Öztürk as part of an annual pardon issued by UAE President, Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, arrives amid a thaw in relations between the Turkey and the UAE.
“I’m very happy to be back in my country, and be healthy and with my family,” it cited Özturk as saying.
Detained by the UAE’s State Security Directorate in February 2018, the Turkish businessman was accused of funnelling money to hard-line Syrian rebels, according to the site, but charged with entering Syria without permission from UAE authorities.
Ties between Turkey and the UAE were strained for a decade over regional issues, but Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed’s visited Ankara last week, marking a thaw in relations as the countries sealed multibillion-dollar investment.
Erdoğan is set to visit the UAE in February, state-run TRT network reported on Monday.