Ambassador of Turkiye to Qatar Dr Mustafa Goksu hailed the bilateral relations between the two countries as strong and solid, saying that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's current visit to Doha would further push bilateral strategic co-operation forward, which would positively impact the two countries' regional partnership and common understanding on regional and international issues.
Speaking with Qatar News Agency (QNA), he added that President Erdogan's current visit coincides with the work of the 44th Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Doha, and that the president would discuss with His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani the latest developments in Gaza, based on Qatar's outstanding diplomatic role in the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.
The visit also sets sights on economic goals, especially with Turkiye scheduled to host the GCC—Turkiye Economic Forum in Istanbul from Dec 11-13, the ambassador said, stressing the visit would play a vital role in strengthening brotherly relations, especially amid the sensitive regional and international developments, which make it important to coordinate positions between Turkiye and Qatar on multiple issues.
Both countries adopt a common foreign policy based on supporting justice, promoting human values and the spirit of solidarity, which represents a source of hope for the oppressed in the region and worldwide, the ambassador said.
Dr Mustafa Goksu highlighted the holding of the 9th session of the Turkiye-Qatar Supreme Strategic Committee in the presence of President Erdogan and His Highness the Amir. Since the launch of the Supreme Strategic Committee in 2014 as the most important high-level bilateral mechanism between Turkiye and Qatar, the two countries have sealed nearly 100 agreements on multiple sectors so far, he said. There are many new agreements, most notably in technology, culture, economy, education, the financial sector, industry, and defense industries, are to be concluded between the two countries on the sidelines of this session, he added.
The ambassador hailed the Qatar-Turkiye strong strategic relations that have developed since they were launched in 1973. In July 2023, the two countries marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of relations, which have recently elevated from ordinary to strategic and covered multiple fields such as economy, industry, defence, security, investment, energy, culture, intellectual property, university, and youth.
He voiced hopes the summit between the two leaders would elevate the strategic relations to broader horizons and make significant contributions to diversifying and deepening relations. Highlighting the economic co-operation as the most important pillar of the bilateral strategic relations between both countries, the envoy said the trade exchange volume recorded approximately US$1.8bn by the end of 2022, amid efforts to elevate it to US$5bn by 2025.
With over 760 Turkish companies operating in Qatar, and about 200 Qatari companies in Turkiye, the volume of Qatari investments in Turkiye reached US$33.2bn, and the Turkish construction companies implemented infrastructure projects in Qatar worth US$22bn.
A major investor in Turkiye, Qatar owns a 49.9-percent stake in BMC, Turkiye's largest manufacturer of commercial and military vehicles, as well as investing in the Istanbul Canal project, a megaproject planned to be implemented in the coming years.
On the tourism level, the ambassador added, the number of Qatari tourists in Turkey surged to 140,000 in 2022 from approximately 30,000 in 2016, an increase that contributed to the prosperity of the Turkish tourism sector, one of the most important economic sectors for the country.
He also hailed the remarkable development in the existing military co-operation after the two sides sealed an agreement on military cooperation and defence industries in 2014 that took effect in 2017 after being approved by Turkiye's Grand National Assembly. The agreement allows both countries to exchange military expertise, develop military industries, and use each other's seaports, aircraft, airspace and military facilities.
Commenting on the Qatar-Turkiye cultural co-operation, the ambassador hailed the inauguration of the Turkish Cultural Center (Yunus Emre Enstitusu) in Doha in 2015, the 2018 agreement to exchange historical documents, scientific sources and cultural experiences, and a 2021 agreement between the Qatar National Library and the Nations Library on scientific, technical and cultural sectors.
He added that the educational co-operation saw the opening of the first Turkish school in Qatar in 2016, noting that there are about 10 Turkish universities on the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MOEHE')s list. The bilateral co-operation in the higher education sector has received notable attention manifested in agreements, memoranda of understanding and cooperation protocols on academic, research and student fields, he added.
Ambassador Goksu highlighted several initiatives in collaboration with Qatari officials to grant Turkish students scholarships in Qatari universities. Under these initiatives, Turkish students will receive 30 annual scholarships to study Arabic language courses in Qatar University of and 20 awards in multiple specializations in Lusail University.
All of these fields of co-operation, particularly in education, enrich Turkiye-Qatar collaboration and achieve common progress and mutual benefits, he concluded.
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