Qatar to Turkey’s aid with billions



“They sold the night to the Qataris. “ In a recent issue, the Turkish satirical weekly Uykusuz relayed the concerns of part of public opinion in front of the disturbing Qatari generosity. In a full-page caricature, men in white tunics (the thawb characteristic of the Gulf countries) strolled under the envious eye of a Turkish prisoner of the night curfew, contemplating them from his window.

→ EXPLANATION. Why is Turkey supporting Qatar?

Turkey and Qatar signed multi-million dollar investment agreements on December 10, adding to an already long list. All sectors are concerned: banking (Finansbank), audiovisual (Digiturk), food (Banvit), real estate, automotive and military (BMC) …

“Everything is on sale”

This honeymoon between Ankara and the emirate of the Arabian Peninsula is not to the liking of the opposition, which denounces the sale of the country’s wealth and a lack of transparency in transactions. On November 26, 10% of the shares of the Istanbul Stock Exchange were transferred to Qatar, causing an uproar.

The leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, was indignant the next day on Turkish news channel FoxTV. “What does this love mean for Qatar? The $ 90 million debt of a Qatari company was suddenly written off. Everything is put up for sale. Don’t be surprised if tomorrow we learn that half of the presidential palace has also been sold to Qatar! “

As the crisis worsens in Turkey, as Europe and the United States have just announced economic sanctions, these Qatari investments appear to be a boon for Ankara. Qatar is said to have spent $ 15 billion on foreign exchange operations to support the Turkish lira, whose price continues to collapse.

Qatar, 2e investor in Turkey

However, the extent of this enthusiasm raises questions, as economist Mustafa Sönmez points out. “The Netherlands is the number one investor in Turkey, and it took decades to get there, he explains, while Qatar, now at 2e rank, rose to that position in just five years. “

→ MAINTENANCE. “We must not reduce Turkey to its president”

The regional geopolitical context has brought the two countries closer together since the Arab Spring. They share a common vision and interests in the Middle East, especially in the face of the bloc gathered around Saudi Arabia. The support given by Doha to Ankara against Riyadh in 2017 and the construction of a Turkish military base sealed this alliance.

“The Qataris are very loyal to the AKP, they will support the government regardless of political developments in the country”, assures Mustafa Sönmez, aware that the party of President Erdogan in ” benefits “ presenting “Qatari investments as a translation of its reform program. They are a wild card in the government game “.

“The relationship with Qatar is undoubtedly one of the most stable for Turkey”, adds Galip Dalay, London-based researcher specializing in the Middle East. “If investments have increased in recent years, it is because Turkey’s economic situation has deteriorated. LThe two phenomena must be put in parallel. When things go wrong in its relations with its Western partners, Turkey looks for alternatives and turns to other countries. ” In the eyes of this specialist, collaboration with Qatar can “Bring a breath “, but without “Compensate for the loss of other investments”.

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