Turkey keen on trade deal with Qatar, GCC: Davutoglu
April 28 2016 09:13 PM
Turkish PM
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu delivers a speech during a business forum organised by the Qatari Businessmen Association. PICTURE: Anas Khalid.

By Peter Alagos/Business Reporter

One of the economic priorities of Turkey is to sign free trade agreements with Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries, including Qatar, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said.
“We have to enrich relations between Turkey and the GCC, and we look to Qatar as the cornerstone that will help us advance our relationship with these countries,” the Prime Minister explained in Doha on Thursday.
He was addressing a business forum organised by the Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA). Davutoglu, who was in the country on an official visit, held a session of official talks with HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani at the Emiri Diwan, prior to meeting members of Qatar’s business community at the forum.
“Signing free trade agreements with GCC countries is one of our main goals. In order to advance and promote Qatari-Turkish relations, we hope that the meetings between our different institutions and councils will continue, and we have to follow-up on advancing these projects for the benefit of our countries,” he stressed.
Davutoglu also said Turkey wants to raise its trade volume with Qatar from $1.3bn to $5bn by enhancing economic relations, and developing co-operation in the energy, construction, health, tourism, and defence sectors.
In the field of medical tourism, Davutoglu announced plans to build a Turkish hospital in Qatar, and the accreditation of Turkish doctors seeking employment here.
“We are working on establishing a hospital in Qatar. Health tourism has great opportunities and it is something that we have discussed with the government, including the accreditation of Turkish doctors, who want to work in Qatar. There are many opportunities both in Qatar and Turkey in this respect, and we will be investing in this sector in the future,” Davutoglu said.
Speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of the event, Omer Cihad Vardan, president of DEIK (Foreign Economic Relations Board), said: “The health industry is one of Turkey’s strengths. We are establishing city hospitals in Turkey, and we will continue to grow stronger in this sector.”
Vardan also cited efforts of Dr Rusen Yildirim, who chairs Deik’s Health and Tourism Business Council, to bring more patients from abroad, including those from Qatar, for treatment in Turkey’s major hospitals.
The meeting with state officials, the Prime Minister said, discussed the progress of infrastructure projects involving Turkish contractors, who are engaged in projects in Qatar worth more than $3bn.
On the development of the defence sector, Davutoglu said: “Many Turkish companies are meeting with their Qatari counterparts.
“Co-operation in the defence industry at the highest levels between Turkey and Qatar is a priority for us in order to establish mutual projects and signing different agreements in this field, especially the establishment of a common military base.”
Davutoglu also encouraged Qataris to invest in Turkey’s tourism industry. He said 36,000 Qatari have visited Turkey in 2015.
According to Vardan, “Deik is trying to bring together Turkish and Qatari businessmen in an environment that is conducive for investment opportunities” in all sectors.
He added that while “50% of Turkey’s gas needs are supplied by Russia,” the country is looking towards Qatar, among other energy sources, to reduce its dependence on Russia.

Last updated: April 28 2016 09:22 PM

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