Qatar and Turkey enjoy relations that are based on shared visions on Arab, regional and international issues.
This has made a positive impact on the volume of trade exchange and fruitful economic co-operation between the two countries.
The two-way trade between Doha and Ankara achieved an unprecedented success in 2016, with trade volume reaching over $1.3bn, indicating keenness of both countries to promote bilateral relations and mutual co-ordination.
Turkey has become one of the main attractive markets for Qatari investors. Qatari investments have exceeded $1bn, supported by the increasing number of Qatari tourists to Turkey which reached about 35,000 visitors in 2016. In addition, Turkey represents an important economic destination for Qatar for enjoying promising investment opportunities in all fields, including energy, transport, tourism, banking, and real estate.
Economic and trade relations between Doha and Ankara witnessed great development. The economic co-operation index has tripled in a short period of time, in addition to the Turkish companies operating in Qatar in infrastructure development and the World Cup projects. The turnover of those companies amounted to about $14bn at the end of 2016.
The great development in the economic and trade relations between the two countries reflect the keenness of both leaderships to continue strengthening bilateral relations in all fields, to reach more concrete achievements especially in the private and businessmen sector.
The launch of the Qatari-Turkish Supreme Strategic Committee in 2014, and the convening of its first meeting in Doha in December 2015 under the chairmanship of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has contributed to expanding the relations between the two countries at all levels through signing 22 agreements in all aspects of co-operation, including politics, security, finance, industry and energy, banks, and education and universities.
The distinguished co-operation has been consolidated with holding the second meeting in the Turkish city of Trabzon in December 2016, which saw the signing of several memorandums of understanding in various fields to contribute to push forward the relations between the two countries.
In the banking and financial sectors, Qatar has become one of the biggest buyers of financial assets in the Turkish market recently in light of the Qatari banks’ trend in the past few years to invest abroad, either through establishing branches in a number of cities and capitals of the world, or by entering into partnerships with other banks to create a common banking units.
Qatar National Bank acquired the share of the National Bank of Greece in “Financebank” in Turkey which holds 99.81% for $2.94bn. “Finance bank” is the fifth-largest bank owned by the private sector in Turkey, in terms of total assets and customer deposits with a nationwide distribution network of over 620 branches and more than 12,000 employees, with more than 5.3mn active customers.
The Commercial Bank of Qatar also acquired a 75% stake in Turkey’s (Alternatifbank) that predominantly serves medium-sized companies through a country-wide network of 64 branches in 21 cities across Turkey since 2013. “QInvest”, Qatar’s leading investment group, also fully acquired “Ergo Portfoy”, one of the largest and fastest-growing Shariah-principled asset management companies in Turkey.
The expansion of Qatari banks in Turkey is due to the growing relationship between the two countries at all levels, as well as the desire of the Qatari local banks to find viable investment opportunities outside the Qatari banking market to achieve further investment diversification.
With regard to the private sector, Doha hosted the 6th Session of the Turkish-Qatari Joint Commission on Economic and Technical Co-operation in November 2016 as one form of co-operation and co-ordination between the private sectors in both countries. According to the figures received during the meetings of the Committee, the number of Turkish companies operating in the State of Qatar with a Qatari-Turkish capital reached 242, while the number of Turkish-capitalised companies reached 26 in the country .
The most prominent aspects of the Qatari-Turkish economic co-operation will be witnessed this year with the two countries taking part, for the first time, in organising the upcoming event (Expo Turkey by Qatar) in April, aiming to ensure greater economic potential. The exhibition will elevate the strategic partnership between the two countries, making them main economic hubs in the region.
The event also reflects keenness of the State of Qatar to enhance the contribution of the private sector in the economic development process through issuing laws and regulations aimed at facilitating the procedures of commercial business, and opening the Qatari market for investors of different economic activities and investment orientations.
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