Turkey and Qatar: Behind the strategic alliance

Qatar's investment in Turkey exceeds $20bn, the second highest by any country.

    Turkey and Qatar: Behind the strategic alliance
    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, shakes hands with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Ankara in September [AP]

    Fast Facts

    Qatar and Turkey are bound by strategic relations at the political, economic and military levels.

    In 2015, Qatar and Turkey established the Supreme Strategic Committee to look after and enhance the relationship. The committee holds regular meetings between the two countries' leadership.

    Al Jazeera examines the key areas of collaboration between the two countries.

    Military ties

    • In an extraordinary session on June 7, two days after the start of the Gulf crisis, Turkey's parliament ratified two earlier agreements allowing Turkish troops to be deployed in Qatar and another approving an accord between the two countries on military training cooperation.

    • The agreements aimed to raise Qatar's defence capabilities, support "counter-terror" efforts and maintain security and stability in the region.

    • Five armoured vehicles and 23 military Turkish military personnel arrived in Doha on June 18 with plans to increase the number of troops to 3,000 and keep a brigade in the Gulf country.

    • The blockading countries have set the closure of the Turkish base in Qatar as one of 13 conditions to restore relations with Doha.

    • During the attempted Turkish coup in 2016, Qatar quickly offered support to its government, and, as noted by the Turkish ambassador to Qatar, "Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was the first leader to call President Erdogan and express support to our government and Turkish people." 
    Ankara's interests require stability in the region. Therefore, Turkey would be against an attack on Saudi Arabia as much as Qatar."

    Yasin Aktay, Turkey's Justice and Development Party

    Food security

    • When the Gulf crisis erupted, and Saudi Arabia closed Qatar's only land border, it blocked many vital imports from reaching Qatar, including basic food supplies. To avoid potential food shortages, in less than 48 hours of the blockade Turkey sent cargo planes full of milk, yogurt, and poultry.

    • Turkish exports to Qatar increased by 90 percent in the four months since the blockade started (June to September) , according to statistics released by Turkey's Aegean Exporters' Association

    • Because of longer import routes, Qatari food and beverage prices jumped 4.2 percent in August. Turkish ambassador to Qatar, Fikret Ozer, said on Monday: "We are bringing many products here, but there is no land route between Turkey and Qatar. But now there is a cooperation between Qatar and Iran and Turkey, and there will be a new route between these countries."

    • Qatar has invested $444m in a 530,000sq metre food storage and processing facility at its Hamad Port.

    • Turkey hopes its improved trade relations with Qatar will outlive the blockade. "The Turkish products [we export] are of very high quality. Even if the embargo [on Qatar] is [lifted], our products will be permanent there," said Sinan Kiziltan, chairman of the Aegean Aquatic Products and the Animal Products Exporters' Union.

    • As part of its National Food Security Programme, Qatar is aiming to produce 70 percent of its food requirements by 2024.

    We started to import food, milk, and other such items from Turkey on the first day of the blockade

    Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, Qatar's Minister of Economy and Trade, said in an interview with Al Jazeera

    Qatari investments

    • Even before the blockade, Qatar had a lot of trust in the Turkish economy. In May, Qatar's Chamber of Commerce Vice Chairman Mohamed bin Twar said: "Turkish companies here are handling projects worth about $11.6bn in Qatar, most of which is put into FIFA World Cup 2022 projects."

    • "Qatar's investment to Turkey is over $20bn, the second highest value of investments by any country in Turkey," bin Twar added. 

    • Turkish media reported Qatar would invest a further $19bn in Turkey in 2018, with $650m going to agriculture and livestock. 

    • "Due to its attractive investment advantages as well as its strong relations with Qatar," the Qatar Chamber encourages Qatari businessmen to invest in Turkey.

    • Turkey is also one of Qatar's top customers for non-oil exports, according to Qatar's Chamber. 

    Qatari-Turkish relations are distinct and can serve as a model for other countries

    Mohamed bin Twar, Qatar Chamber vice chairman

    E-commerce portal

    • Government-owned Qatar Post inaugurated a new e-commerce website on January 1, launched in cooperation with Turkey's General Directorate of Post and Telegraph Organization (PTT). 

    • Through the website, customers in Qatar can shop online for products shipped from vendors in Turkey. PTT Chairman Kemal Bozgeyik said that "Qataris will reach many products in Turkey thanks to the website being promoted … Trade between our countries will develop".
    • Qatari Transport Minister Jassim Saif al-Sulaiti said the products will reach the customer in seven days, and they are working on shortening the waiting time.

    [turkishsouq.qa] 

    High-level meetings

    • In January 2018, Qatar's Emir met the Turkish president in Ankara on a one-day visit.

    • In November 2017, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Qatar to attend the third meeting of Turkey-Qatar Supreme Strategic Committee.

    • In October 2017, Qatar's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed in Abdulrahman al-Thani and Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met in Ankara for the third session of the Supreme Strategic Committee at the ministerial level

    • In September 2017, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani visited President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey in what was his first trip abroad since the start of the Gulf diplomatic crisis.
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    Gulf crisis: Is there a risk of a military escalation?

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    Gulf crisis: Is there a risk of a military escalation?

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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