No boost in Qatari funds to Turkey, amid economic turmoil

No boost in Qatari funds to Turkey, amid economic turmoil

Turkey’s president ended a trip to Qatar on Tuesday with no major deals announced or any indication that ally Doha would boost direct financial assistance as Turkey grapples with an historic currency crash and soaring inflation.

President Tayyip Erdogan and Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani signed 15 agreements in areas ranging from media to disaster management and pledged to “explore more ways” to boost economic ties and financial coordination, a statement said.

The joint statement said Qatar agreed to extend a currency swap agreement with Turkey, which Doha had tripled to $15 billion last year. The agreement is designed to bolster Turkey’s foreign reserves and steady the lira. The statement made no mention of expanding the amount of direct financial assistance.

However, at a news briefing on Monday, Turkey’s foreign minister said Ankara had no plans to ask Doha for financial assistance while his Qatari counterpart said Doha was looking at opportunities emerging from Turkey’s economic challenges.

Qatar has strong ties with Turkey which supported Doha when Saudi Arabia and three other Arab states, including the United Arab Emirates, imposed an embargo on Qatar in mid-2017 in a row that was resolved last January.

The boycotting states had objected to non-Arab Turkey’s military base in Qatar, among other points of contention in the row including over political Islam and regional conflicts.

Before departing Doha, Erdogan visited Turkish soliders at the base.

“We do not separate the security and stability of Qatar from that of our own country,” Erdogan said in speech, mentioning Doha’s contributions to “Turkey’s investment, employment, production and export-oriented growth.”

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have moved to mend ties with Ankara after a charm offensive launched by Erdogan though Abu Dhabi has taken more concrete steps than Riyadh.

The UAE’s de factor ruler visited Turkey last month, which yeilded accords for billions of dollars of investments. [Reuters]

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