Relations between Turkey and Qatar solidify

Good relations maintained between Turkey and Qatar over the past few decades are set to escalate with recent incentives from both sides to develop economic ties.

Both Turkey and Qatar share many things in common, with cooperation between the two states having been maintained since the 1970s. During the 1980s, both countries began singing bilateral agreements with one another causing their previously good relationship to grow into something remindful of an alliance.

Political cooperation has been maintained between the two states throughout the Arab Uprisings, the Syrian civil war and the Egyptian Crisis, with both countries supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and anti-government demonstrations in many countries across the Middle East.

Turkey and Qatar have been able to work together along with Saudi Arabia to drive opposition in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime towards significant achievements. Both states have also been able to give high levels of support to a new opposition coalition known as the Army of Conquest, a rebel alliance with objectives to expand their territory gains in Syria.

Furthermore, in recent years, Prime Ministers of both countries have made several official visits to each country, heightening relations and allowing Turkey and Qatar’s Foreign Ministers to agree on establishing the High-level Strategic Cooperation Council in January 2015 to enhance bilateral ties.

However, although both countries share a good political relationship, their economic relationship has not been particularly noteworthy. The economic relations between Turkey and Qatar are not at the levels both sides would wish, with exports from Turkey to Qatar having remained very low, only reaching an approximated USD 344 million in 2014.

Statistics show that Qatar’s economic relations with Turkey are at the same level that Turkey’s economic relations are at with countries that it has only moderate political relations with, while most of Qatar’s neighbours have better economic relations with Turkey.

Previously, there was not much done in terms of increasing economic relations between both states, now however, both countries have expressed interest in improving economic relations. This was highlighted in 2008 when the first Turkish-Qatari Business Forum was held.

Further evidence of steps taken to improve economic relations between both states was at the Turkish-Qatar Business forum of 2011, where Turkey expressed their plan “to invest USD 130 billion in the energy sector, USD 110 billion in the transportation sector and more than USD 10 billion in information and communication technologies”, further revealing that Qatar is in “first place” for their “foreign economic vision”.

The Turkish Ministry of Economy added that Qatar has many opportunities for Turkish exporters and contractors, which will continue to be used to attract Turkish businessmen and grow trade between both countries. Qatar’s support of the Free Trade Agreement between the GCC countries and Turkey further enables economic growth in Turkey-Qatar relations.

Although it has been questions whether Turkish-Qatar relations will last, it seems as though the long established political relationship between both states will continue to develop along with their newly developing economic relationship. Both countries have similar political interests in terms of foreign policy and are successfully working together to maintain positive relations.