His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani’s working visit to Turkey on Wednesday is significant as it comes in the wake of US sanctions imposed on Ankara amid a dispute between the Nato allies that has sent the lira to a record low against the dollar.
During his meeting with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential complex in Ankara, the Amir announced an initiative that will see Qatar provide support to the Turkish economy with a host of economic projects, investments, and deposits worth a total of QR55bn ($15bn).
The initiative underscores the strong relations between Qatar and Turkey and re-emphasise Qatar’s gratitude and appreciation for the stand taken by the government and people of Turkey in support of Doha when the unjust siege was imposed on it in June last year.
Turkey was one of the first countries to reject this siege and support Qatar by establishing air bridges. 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% in the four months since the blockade started (June to September), according to statistics released by Turkey’s Aegean Exporters’ Association.
Even before the blockade, Qatar’s economic ties with Turkey were robust. In the months preceding the blockade Turkish companies were handling projects worth about $11.6bn in Qatar, most of which is put into FIFA World Cup 2022 projects, according to Qatar Chamber. And Qatar’s investment in Turkey was over $20bn, the second highest value of investments by any country in Turkey.
Turkey is also one of Qatar’s top customers for non-oil exports, according to Qatar Chamber.
In the statements made by the Amir in his official Twitter account in Arabic and Turkish, he stressed that Qatar supports and stands by the brotherly Turkish people who have stood by it, noting the depth and strength of the relationship between Qatar and Turkey which is worthy of emulation by other countries.
Wednesday’s talks between the Amir and President Erdogan dealt with strategic bilateral relations and ways to enhance co-operation in all fields, especially in economic and investment sectors, as well as the latest regional and international developments and the importance of resolving differences through dialogue and through diplomatic channels, in order to maintain the region’s peace and stability.
Qatar and Turkey are bound by strategic relations at the political, economic and military levels. They share similar views on all regional and international issues. The relations are based on solid foundations and mutual appreciation between the two countries’ leadership.
During the attempted Turkish coup in 2016, Qatar quickly offered support to its government.
Back then the Turkish ambassador to Qatar noted: “Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani was the first leader to call President Erdogan and express support to our government and Turkish people.”
The current visit by the Amir to Turkey, and the initiative announced by him to support the country’s economy, reaffirm the fact that Qatar does not forget its friends who have stood by it in its hour of need.
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