One of Istanbul’s main thoroughfares, North West of Istanbul, has been renamed “Qatar street,” the Turkish embassy in Doha has confirmed to Doha News.
The Mayor of Fatih (district) Municipality, Mustafa Demir said that the move demonstrated the “friendship, relationship and brotherhood ties” between the two countries, Turkish media reported this week.
The 3.5km street was formerly called “Istinye Bayiri,” and is situated in the “Sariyer” area on the European side of Istanbul, overlooking the Bosphorus. The area is described by Turkish press as “one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of Istanbul.”
Not everyone has welcomed the decision, which came before a weekend visit to Turkey from Qatar’s Emir, at a time when the two countries are growing closer politically.
According to Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper, a member of Istanbul’s municipality described the street as a “legacy” to the Turkish people and called on authorities to rename a newer, different street after Qatar.
This is not the first time Turkey has dubbed a street in an Arab country’s honor. Istanbul is also home to “Baghdad avenue,” located on the Anatolian side of the city.
And there is a street named after the late American President John F. Kennedy that leads to Ataturk airport.
During last week’s two-hour meeting, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani discussed the energy sector and economic relations between the two countries, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu News Agency.
The two leaders also discussed the situation in Syria, Iraq and Palestine.
The meeting – which was closed to the press – was held as threats and attacks continue from the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, next door to Turkey.
Ties between Qatar and Turkey, this year’s partner in the Year of Culture program, have grown stronger in the last few years, especially since the beginning of several Arab revolutions in 2011.
The two nations agree politically on several issues, including their support for Hamas in Gaza and rebel groups in Syria against President Bashar Al Assad.
They both were also against the military ousting of former Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi in 2013.
In 2014, Qatar was the first Arab country Erdogan officially visited since the beginning of his term.
Last year, the two countries deepened their economic ties as well.
Turkey’s ambassador to Doha said Qatar would invest $12 billion in Turkey’s Afsin-Elbistan coal-fired power plant project. Shortly before that, Qatar announced that its Coast Guard Service planned to buy 17 patrol boats from Turkish firm Ares Shipyard for QR200 million.