Turkish-Qatari ties strengthen amid years of mutual support: analysts

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/11/16 10:36:02

Turkey and Qatar have close relations at political, economic and military levels, an alliance that has progressed over the years even in the murder case of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, analysts said.

The Turkish presidency announced in a statement that Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday to discuss "regional and bilateral ties."

It is the emir's second visit to Turkey in a few months.

During his previous visit in Ankara in August, the Qatari emir pledged to invest 15 billion US dollars in Turkey which was struggling with a currency crisis.

"We stand by the brothers in Turkey that have stood with the issues of the Muslim world and with Qatar," he said in a tweet after meeting Erdogan.

The much-needed financial support for the slowing Turkish economy was considered a show of solidarity.

In a similar act from Turkey back in 2017, the Turkish leader rushed to aid Qatar, sending cargo ships as well as hundreds of planes loaded with food, in order to break a blockade imposed by a Saudi-led Arab quartet, which accuses Qatar of supporting extremism and fostering relations with Iran despite Doha's repeated denials.

Turkey also deployed more troops on its military base in Qatar, and prevented, according to many observers, a move targeting Qatari sovereignty and independence.

"Ties between Turkey and Qatar are moving steadily toward a strategic relationship and it seems that they will grow in the coming years," Oytun Orhan, a researcher from the Ankara-based Center for Middle Eastern Studies (ORSAM), told Xinhua.

Meanwhile, there is an agreement between Ankara and Doha to further their relations and increase Qatari investment in economically troubled Turkey.

Qatar's investments in Turkey exceed 20 billion US dollars, the second highest by country in Turkey.

Turkish media reported that Qatar will invest a further 19 billion dollars in Turkey in 2018, with 650 million dollars in agriculture and livestock.

In addition, a luxurious Boeing 747-800 was gifted to Turkey by Emir Tamim this summer.

However, this regional alliance is being tested in the killing case of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"Qatar was perhaps the country which benefited the most from this affair because the aggressive policies adopted by Riyadh against Doha seem to have eroded" amid the international condemnation of Saudi Arabia's direct or indirect involvement in the killing of Khashoggi, said Orhan.

"Qatar has adopted a low profile in this affair so as not to upset Riyadh, looking for ways to restore its severed relations with Saudis," he explained.

Some Turkish pro-government commentators criticized Doha's silence, as Ankara and Riyadh, amid chilly ties, are locked in a long battle for domination over the future of the region.

The break in the Ankara-Riyadh relations dates back to 2013, when Saudi Arabia supported the military overthrow of Egyptian elected President Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood backed by Erdogan.

Many believe Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud is behind Khashoggi's murder as the journalist was vocal in his criticism of the prince's rule.

"We want to have good relations with Qatar but also with Saudi Arabia. The conflicts that are plaguing our region are enough, so we seek amicable ties with all countries of our region," a Turkish diplomatic source told Xinhua.

"This horrific crime was perpetrated on Turkish soil and it's only natural that Turkey wants it to be elucidated," the source said on condition of anonymity.

Posted in: MID-EAST

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