Qatar has one of the highest incomes per capita in the world, mostly due to its rich oil and natural gas reserves. In addition to its strong economy, it pursues an active foreign policy regarding various issues in the Middle East. Most recently, it has grabbed the headlines with its efforts to solve the crisis in Egypt, Syria and Palestine amongst others.
With domestic investments on education, healthcare and sciences and financial investments in other countries, Qatar is working to improve its welfare levels and economic power.
Needless to say, one of the most important allies of Qatar in the region is Turkey. Both countries are important parts of the Islamic world and share common historical bonds. Their good relations are based on strong bonds of brotherhood and solidarity.
Turkey-Qatar relations have been getting better in the past decade and played an important role in the foreign policies of both the countries. These relations that involve co-operation in many areas are built on common visions and values.
As Turkey’s ambassador to Qatar, Ahmet Demirok, explains: “Our relations have reached an almost perfect level. Recent efforts for more co-operation have helped bring our relations to their highest levels.”
Following the visit of the then prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Qatar in 2006 with a delegation that comprised ministers and businessmen, the trade volume between the two countries, which never passed the threshold of a couple of hundred million dollars until then, skyrocketed to $6bn. Since that time, high-profile visits between two counties have helped strengthen the relations even more.
Just like Turkey is an attractive investment area for Qatar, Qatar is an important investment ground for Turkish entrepreneurs and investors.
The total amount of projects and investments that more than 30 Turkish companies have undertaken in Qatar has surpassed $8.5bn. Turkey exports a great deal of commodities, including raw materials, iron, steel, furniture and various industrial and textile products, to Qatar.
Furthermore, for Qatar, which has insufficient water and food resources and therefore has to rely on external sources, Turkey is a great opportunity as a country with developed agriculture industries and rich potable water resources. Qatar’s oil and natural gas reserves make it an important alternative to Russia and Iran for Turkey which has to rely on external resources for its energy. For this reason, it is crucial that the gas pipeline project between two countries is put into place at the earliest.
In addition to the continuously developing economic and political links, a military co-operation agreement signed on March 19 this year has become a milestone in the two countries’ relations.
One of the top issues that make the two countries’ alliance very urgent is the catastrophe in Syria.
In an interview last August, Qatar’s ambassador in Ankara, Salem Mubarak al-Shafi, said: “The Middle East today is on fire. We believe that when the people of the region are given opportunity to choose and freely speak up their minds, the turmoil will come to an end…For this reason, it is important to work hard to help the people of the region who are rising up to secure their freedom.
“We are carrying out various efforts together with Turkey to this end, and work to expand it by incorporating other countries in these efforts too. By means of dual and multiple relations, and by finding solutions to problems in the Middle East, we are ready to work and do everything that is necessary to this end.”
The Syrian tragedy, which urgently requires a solution, is only one of those important issues that make the co-operation of these two countries extremely important and is one in which they can put to use their strong alliance in the most effective manner. It is imperative that Qatar rises as an active and efficient player together with Turkey, especially now when a transitional formula is being discussed for Syria and when it is at the top of the agenda for countries like the United States and Russia.
We hope that this exemplary friendship and alliance between these two great Islamic countries will be instrumental in bringing forth many good developments not only for them but for the entire Islamic world and that it may set an example of solidarity, union, love and peace for all Muslims in the world.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Gulf Times: