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Turkey Erdogan to meet Qatar’s emir

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives in Qatar on Monday and can meet Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on an official go to to focus on regional points and bilateral relations.

Ankara and Doha are shut regional allies, having developed strong ties throughout testing instances, whereas the nations’ leaders take pleasure in a robust private relationship. The 2 governments have seen eye-to-eye on a spread of regional international coverage points in recent times, such because the Syrian struggle, the plight of the Palestinian folks, and Egypt‘s 2013 coup.

Financial relations between the 2 sides have been strong, notably for the reason that Gulf disaster erupted in 2017, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a blockade on Qatar and severed diplomatic relations.

The earlier yr, when a whole lot of individuals had been killed in a failed coup in Turkey, the Qatari emir was the primary world chief to name Erdogan and specific help to his authorities.

In the meantime, Qatar has issued statements of help for Turkey’s army operations in northern Syria in recent times, when Ankara attacked Kurdish fighters it considers “terrorists” to drive them away from its southern border.

Turkey’s relations with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and UAE have additionally been shaky in the previous few years due to international coverage variations within the area – notably in relation to Syria, Egypt and Palestine – areas the place Ankara and Doha have pursued related insurance policies.

Ankara’s ties with Saudi Arabia got here beneath intense pressure after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi within the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a staff of Saudi brokers final yr.

‘Isolation of Turkey and Qatar’

In accordance to Muhittin Ataman, a professor of worldwide relations on the College of Ankara, some regional powers within the Middle East need to isolate Turkey and Qatar to punish them over their international insurance policies.

“Egypt and Israel and the Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia search to isolate Turkey and Qatar within the area and this reality pushes the 2 nations to improve their ties and deepen their alliance,” he advised Al Jazeera in a phone interview.

Ataman mentioned, nevertheless, Turkey, Qatar, and people in search of to isolate the 2 nations have discovered the present political local weather as dangerous and unsustainable.

“One ought to count on strikes to normalise relations from each camps sooner or later, and I imagine the way in which ahead might be mentioned throughout Erdogan’s go to,” he added.

When the Gulf disaster erupted in 2017, the 4 blockading nations stopped buying and selling with Qatar and likewise banned Qatari planes from utilizing their airspace. Saudi Arabia closed the border with its neighbour, Qatar’s solely land border.

Hours after the blockade was imposed, Turkey sent planes stuffed with primary vitamin merchandise – akin to milk, yoghurt, and poultry – to keep away from potential meals shortages within the Gulf state. Since then, the commerce quantity between the 2 nations has accelerated quickly.

In accordance to information from the state-run Turkish Statistical Institute, Turkey’s exports to Qatar reached $1.1bn in 2018, a rise of 69 p.c in contrast with $650m the earlier yr.

Throughout the identical interval, Qatar’s exports to Turkey jumped 27 p.c, from $264m to $335m. The general commerce quantity stood at $1.44bn in 2018 and is projected to rise additional this yr.

Ayhan Zeytinoglu, the chairman of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, mentioned final week that Turkish firms had been finishing up tasks value $17bn in Qatar.

Talking at a gathering of main Qatari and Turkish businesspeople in Istanbul, he mentioned the quantity will proceed to enhance as Doha prepares to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Qatar invests in Turkey

Fikret Ozer, Turkey’s ambassador to Qatar, not too long ago mentioned Qatari funding in Turkey had reached about $22bn.

“Turkey, with its practical financial system, continues to be a safe-haven for Qatari investments,” he mentioned.

He added the variety of vacationer arrivals from Qatar to Turkey jumped from 32,000 in 2016 to 96,000 in 2018, including the variety of Turkish residents in Qatar has elevated in recent times and exceeded 10,000.

The 2 nations have additionally strengthened army ties, with Turkey sustaining a army base in Qatar since 2015 – and the 2 sides’ armies finishing up joint army drills in recent times.

Ataman mentioned he anticipated the 2 sides to work in direction of diversifying and solidifying cooperation between state establishments sooner or later.

“They are going to work to make the present ties institutionalised and everlasting no matter potential adjustments in governments,” he advised Al Jazeera, including the purpose was to type a bond that runs deeper than the non-public relationship between Erdogan and Sheikh Tamim.

Comply with Umut Uras on Twitter: @Um_Uras

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