Turkey and Qatar set to remain close allies - the Economist

Turkey and Qatar are likely to remain close allies, despite the Gulf nation’s recent rapprochement with Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, the Economist said on Friday. 

In June 2017, countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar over its alleged support for Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood in the region. 

Following the blockade, Qatar sought closer relations with Turkey, with which it shares both an Islamist ideological affinity and regional strategic interests, the Economist said.

“Turkey, which is big and cash-strapped, counts on Qatar for financial support; Qatar, which is small and rich, relies on Turkey for protection.”

Both countries have since become increasingly economically linked, with Qatar providing crucial funds as Turkey’s foreign exchange reserves began to dwindle during the 2018 currency crisis. And Qatar is now “Turkey’s third-biggest foreign investor,” according to the Economist.

These economic ties have been further bolstered by business deals linked to both countries’ rulers, the magazine said.

“A firm linked to the (Qatari) Emir’s mother has purchased land near (Turkish President) Erdoğan’s pet project, a canal that would connect the Black and Marmara Seas.”

Earlier this month saw Saudi Arabia end the embargo on its smaller Gulf neighbour, with the other countries involved set to also follow suit. But the Economist said the move was unlikely to have much of an impact on “the special relationship” between Qatar and Turkey. 

“The circumstances that brought Turkey and Qatar together have not fundamentally changed.