Relations between Moscow and Ankara have deteriorated sharply since Turkey shot down a Russian plane, which it said had violated its airspace while flying sorties over Syria.
In order to normalise relations, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made some attempts to meet President Vladimir Putin at the climate summit in Paris but he did not succeed. Against the backdrop of these complicated and undesirable situations, there was one occurrence that made Turkish leaders and the Turkish people happy. It was President Erdogan’s visit to Qatar following his attendance at the summit in Paris.
Qatar is one of the countries which Turkish leaders have visited the most. For example, Erdogan’s recent visit was his ninth, while Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has been in Doha on official visits 15 times in the last few years.
During the AK Party period, there have been several official visits to Qatar at the level of presidency, prime ministry and ministry. HH the Emir of Qatar and his ministers have paid visits to Turkey several times. These mutual visits reflect the close relations between the two countries.
During his latest visit to Qatar, President Erdogan and HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani endorsed 15 agreements between the two countries, covering various sectors.
Before the Turkey-Qatar High Strategic Committee Meeting, where the agreements were signed, Erdogan said: ‘The Turkey-Qatar Culture Year continues at full speed, and with great success. We will make sure that our relations get stronger every year. Our relation with the Gulf Co-operation Council is crucial for us.”
Signing a natural gas contract with Qatar will help Turkey in finding an alternative for its energy needs. Regarding the natural gas agreement, Erdogan stated that new steps would be taken in terms of storage as well.
Another important protocol signed is in regards to labour. Qatar has requested for 500,000 employees, both qualified and unskilled. Erdogan stated that the Turkish envoy in Qatar will meet with the officials concerned and discuss their demands.
As Turkish-Qatari relations are getting stronger day by day, the lifting of visa requirements made a great contribution to the socialisation between the two peoples.
In a special interview with Daily Sabah, Qatar’s ambassador in Ankara, Salem Mubarak al-Shafi, stated that they were ready to give any support needed to foster better relations and added that they did not want the relationship to be only at the state level but would like “our people to be closer to each other and the bilateral lifting of visa requirements is an indication of this desire”.
Have you ever wondered why relations between states and joint agreements matter? In order to provide national security and sustain the well-being of their citizens, they need to improve their co-operation with other countries. Nevertheless, the common belief is that the countries are isolated even though they strive to have strong relations. Most believe that despite the signing of agreements in terms of economy, politics, trade or energy, they are all seeking their own self-interests.
In my opinion, this is not a realistic analysis because states do not have to cope with every issue on their own; they can write a joint history with other eager countries vis-a-vis politics, science, culture, economy, education or the struggle against terrorism. The relationship between the USA and Canada serves as a beautiful example for this partnership. Their links have improved over time so that numerous issues have turned into a kind of common domestic policy.
Countries having domestic problems or issues with their neighbouring states should refrain from being detached and reconsider their foreign relations policies with the aim of enriching the ties between them. Given the tough situation, the scourge of terrorism and unfinished conflicts in the Middle East, Turkey has been isolated unwillingly. With the new government in charge, it is a suitable time for Turkey to reassess its connections with other countries, which are currently fragile or broken and bring them back to normal as not only Turkey, but the whole world is going through a serious phase with conflicts all over the region and indeed, the world.
Besides, states that comprehend the importance of strong unity will be able to achieve great success only through alliances not through isolation.
Steps taken by Turkey and Qatar to strengthen their ties in every aspect serve as a solid example of this success. Our hope and wish is that other countries will follow the steps of these two beautiful countries to improve the situation in the region.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Gulf Times: