Qatar and Turkey’s enduring partnership has appeared to be highlighted on various challenging occasions.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is preparing to embark on a regional tour of Gulf nations, including Qatar, with the aim of attracting investments and alternative financial support amid a significant decrease from Western countries.
Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said Erdogan will include the United Arab Emirates in his itinerary, and representatives from both nations are collaborating to enhance economic connections in advance. The Turkish president also intends to visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar during this tour, Turkish sources revealed.
Erdogan’s upcoming trip to the UAE follows previous meetings held between Simsek and Vice President Cevdet Yılmaz, both of whom were in the Gulf country the previous month. A high-ranking delegation from the UAE reciprocated the visit to engage in discussions regarding the specifics of investment cooperation between the two sides.
Due to Erdogan’s approach of maintaining low interest rates, which has resulted in inflation, many Western investors have been deterred. The Gulf countries have emerged as potential partners to bridge the investment gap, prompting the president to work towards strengthening relations.
As a positive outcome, Qatar, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia are providing much-needed foreign currency to the Turkish Central Bank through swap agreements and direct deposits.
The Turkish government has established a goal of attracting $25 billion in investments from Gulf countries using various methods such as privatisation and acquisitions, officials maintained, according to reports.
Erdogan has expressed that his new economic team will be responsible for managing inflation, although the Turkish lira has depreciated by more than 20% against the dollar since Simsek assumed office.
Gulf states may insist on more extensive economic reforms.
With regards to the bilateral relationships within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Turkey’s primary ally is Qatar, Ali Bakir, a senior researcher at Ibn Khaldon Center, and assistant professor at Qatar University, penned for Doha News.
The deepening alliance, which dates back to 2014, has proven resilient and mutually supportive, especially during challenging times. When Erdogan assumed power, the Turkish leader chose Qatar as the first Arab country for an official state visit.
This enduring partnership has enabled Turkey to re-emerge as a security provider in the Gulf for the first time in over a century, Bakir argued.
In July of 2016, Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was the first leader to call Erdogan during a failed coup attempt that killed hundreds in Turkey and sent shockwaves across the world. Qatar was also the first Arab country to condemn the coup attempt.
The following year, Qatar was subjected to an illegal air, land and sea blockade by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt.
The quartet severed diplomatic ties with Qatar when the Gulf state heavily depended on imports. In response, Turkey almost immediately sent food, water and medicine to Qatar.
In December 2019, Qatar and Turkey inaugurated the new headquarters of the Turkish-Qatari joint forces in the Gulf state, the Khalid Ibn Al-Walid Base. At least 5,000 troops are stationed at the military post.
At the time, Erdogan described the military base as “the symbol of brotherhood, friendship, solidarity and sincerity”.
More recently in February, Sheikh Tamim ordered the launch of an air bridge after Turkey and Syria were struck with the worst earthquakes to hit the area in a century.
More than 120 personnel of the Qatar International Search and Rescue Group of the Internal Security Force – Lekhwiya – were dispatched to assist with response efforts as the death toll reached 50,000.
A week later, Qatar’s amir met with President Erdogan in Istanbul as the first leader to visit Turkiye following the deadly earthquakes.