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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Turkish envoy praises ‘deep rooted, historic’ Qatar relations


Qatar and Turkey have been allies since 1972, with relations growing increasingly stronger over the years.

Ankara’s embassy in Doha celebrated Turkey’s 98th National Day on Tuesday, ahead of the anniversary of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic by its founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on 29 October 1923.

The consulate in the Qatari capital reflected on the “tremendous transformations” made by Turkey over the years as well as its effort in achieving goals set by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to achieve Visions 2053 and 2071.

“Turkey, with its strong democracy and growing economy, is still continues to be a source of inspiration not only in the region but globally as well. Turkey still stands by the oppressed peoples and works to establish peace in a way that enhances international peace and security,” said Turkish Ambassador to Doha Mustafa Goksu.

The Turkish official also said his country has managed to play a major role in achieving self-sufficiency in medical equipment and supplies while providing aid to 125 countries amid the pandemic over the past two years.

Qatar-Turkey relations

Qatar and Turkey established bilateral ties since 1972 and ties have grown stronger over the years—especially since the blockade in 2017.

“Turkey also supported the unity of the Gulf ranks and blessed the return of Gulf cohesion after the consensus at the Al-Ula summit. These crises and the supportive stances of the two countries towards each other contributed to strengthening our relations at all levels and fields,” said Goksu.

Ties between Doha and Ankara “historically strong, solid and diverse”, the embassy said.

“The Turkish-Qatari relations are not new, rather they are historical since the end of the 19th century, and continued to develop even after the establishment of the Turkish Republic, to witness a remarkable development in the nineties of the last century,” said Goksu, noting the allies have collaborated across political, economic, social and humanitarian fields.

More recently, technical teams from both nations helped operate the civilian side of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport following the foreign troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on 31 August.

Turkey ‘working to resume flights’ at Kabul airport

“Both Turkey and Qatar are aligned with truth and justice that achieve the interests of the peoples, which is the common factor in the Qatari and Turkish views and positions,” said Goksu.

He also acknowledged Qatar’s support to his country during the failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016, which Turkey blamed on the FETÖ organisation. Some 251 civilians were killed and more than 2,000 others injured in the failed putsch.

“The Amir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, was the first who called and provided support to the President of the Turkish Republic, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, from the first moments of the treacherous coup attempt,” said Goksu.

In 2015, Turkey established a military base with around 3,000 troops in Qatar led by the Qatar-Turkey Combined Joint Force Command.

The two countries have been holding the Turkish-Qatari Supreme Strategic Committee dialogue on an annual basis since 2015 and signed a total of 68 agreements and cooperation protocols.

Goksu said that the upcoming meeting is expected to take place before the end of this year and will witness the signing of more deals.

“Thanks to all these agreements, our bilateral relations, which have developed rapidly in all fields and have acquired a strategic character based on mutual trust, have been given a contractual basis,” he said.

Tourism has also been an important aspect ties, with the number of Qatari tourists to Turkey reaching at least 140,000 in recent years.

Goksu also congratulated Qatar on the success of the Shura Council elections and the great turnout of voters nationwide.

“We wish the next council all the success in enhancing Qatar’s march and renaissance,” said Goksu.

Trade exchange

The consulate said the volume of bilateral trade exchange increased over the past decade from $340 million to $2.24 billion—a number that will likely increase in the coming years.

Furthermore, Qatar’s direct investments in Turkey reached $33.2 billion at the end of 2020, whereas Turkish direct investments in Qatar amounted to $118 million.

He also said there are 619 Turkish companies currently operation in the Gulf state and 182 Qatari firms operating across Turkey.

“The relations between Qatar and Turkey are in a very privileged position. They have deep historical and cultural ties and I am sure that we will witness continuous development in bilateral economic and trade relations in the coming days,” said Goksu.

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Turkey has been backing Qatar’s infrastructure projects since 2002 at a total of over $18 billion.

Besides trade, the countries cooperated in the educational field, with universities from both countries signing agreements to strengthen cultural ties.

This includes and agreement between Türkiye Maarif Vakfı [TMV] and Qatar University [QU] and Lusail University [LU] to grant Turkish students full scholarships.

“Thirty Turkish students were accredited by Qatar University this year, and 10 by Lusail University to receive bachelor’s degrees in various fields, with a full scholarship after learning the Arabic language,” said Goksu.

He also said that Qatar should be attending the East-Med Conference, proposed by President Erdogan.

“We believe Qatar should be at the conference because of the Qatari oil companies in the region [Qatar Petroleum]. This conference will act as an important step in establishing genuine and realistic regional cooperation,” he said.

Turkey’s economic situation

Goksu noted that the performance of Turkey’s economy following the lifting of strict restrictions imposed to curb Covid-19 has so far witnessed a remarkable improvement.

The national income in the country grew by 21.7% in the second quarter of 2021 and Turkey became the second highest growth country in the world after the UK.

According to Goksu, the Turkish economic activity maintained its strength in the third quarter of 2021 and was supported by strong foreign demand.

“The rapid recovery of demand due to recent increases in food prices and imports, and restrictions on supply, has led to an increase in inflation in the country,” he said, adding that inflation will lose its effect in the last quarter of this year.

On Syria

Turkey and Qatar joined efforts this year to put an end to the crisis in Syria by finding a political solution to the conflict-ridden country while holding criminals to account.

Earlier this year, Qatar, Turkey and Russia announced trilateral efforts to resolve the war in Syria through political means, on the basis of Security Council Resolution 2254.

“In this regard, we support all international initiatives aimed at a political solution based on United Nations standards, including the Geneva process and the Astana platform. We make every effort to ensure the success of the Constitutional Committee,” said Goksu.

Key mediator Qatar steps in to find political resolution for war-torn Syria

Goksu said that the international community should pressure the Syrian regime and its backers to achieve a permanent ceasefire in Idlib.

“We have been an active member of the Global Coalition against DEASH since its inception. We have eliminated more than 4500 DEASH terrorists in Syria and Iraq,” he said.

He added that Turkey’s presence in Syria helps in securing the return of those displaced from the country due to the war.

On Afghanistan

Goksu also said his country places the latest developments in Afghanistan at the top of its agenda as its peace and stability “is crucial for the stability and development of the whole region”.

“Afghanistan is once more going through a critical period. The unfolding situation in Afghanistan has become increasingly complex as the US and NATO forces withdraw from the country,” he said.

The diplomat also praised Qatar’s pivotal role amid the latest developments and its efforts in achieving peace and stability in Kabul, calling on other countries to support Afghanistan to “stand on its own feet”.

“Restoring peace, stability and public order in the country is also of great importance in terms of the threat of mass migration and the fight against terrorism,” he said.

On Libya

The Turkish envoy also said his country has constantly supported a political solution in Libya as the conflict cannot be resolved militarily.

“Turkey is strongly committed to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political unity of Libya,” he said, noting that the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum [LPDF] achieved real success.

He added that the election of the interim executive authority was an important step, while reiterating Turkey’s support for UN efforts in facilitating a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned inclusive political process.

“Turkey responded the call to support the UN-recognised Government of National Accord, and thanks to our efforts, relative calm prevailed on the ground which ultimately helped to pave the way for intra-Libyan talks and the UN-led reconciliation efforts,” said Goksu.

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