Erdogan calls for Qatari funding for military interventions

Turkish President visits Qatar and Kuwait to strengthen ties with Gulf countries
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ,meeting with Qatar's ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, in Doha

PHOTO/ SERVICIO DE PRENSA PRESIDENCIAL TURCO / AFP  -   Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ,meeting with Qatar's ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, in Doha

Fighting a battle without support is complicated, but if you are present on several open fronts and have an economy in continuous recession, aggravated by the possible sanctions that the European Union can impose on you, the need for alliances becomes the only way to survive.

This is what Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did when he visited Qatar and Kuwait this week.

During his visit to Kuwait, the Turkish president was received by a Kuwaiti delegation led by Emir Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah and the Turkish ambassador to Kuwait Ayse Hilal Sayan Koytak. Erdogan expressed his condolences to Amir Al-Sabah on the death of his predecessor, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, who died recently at the age of 91 after governing the country since 2006. At the meeting, officials also discussed bilateral relations and regional issues.

 En esta fotografía publicada por el Servicio de Prensa Presidencial de Turquía el 7 de octubre de 2020 se muestra al Presidente turco Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C-L) siendo recibido por el Ministro de Defensa de Qatar Khaled Al-Attiyah (C-R) a su llegada a la capital Doha.
AFP/AGENCIA DE NOTICIAS QATAR-Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C-L) being received by Qatar's Defence Minister Khaled Al-Attiyah (C-R) on arrival in the capital Doha.

On Wednesday, Erdogan arrived in the Qatari capital, Doha, for talks with the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

Received by a high-ranking delegation headed by the Qatari defence minister, Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, the Turkish leader was accompanied by several senior officials, including the finance and defence ministers, according to the state news agency Anadolu.

Ankara-Doha binomial

The ties between Doha and Ankara are strong, particularly since the Gulf crisis erupted on 5 June 2017, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a blockade on Qatar and broke off diplomatic relations. The boycott against the small Gulf country was motivated by the accusation that Qatar was an agitator of the region's stability by supporting terrorist groups. This measure was joined by Yemen, Libya and the Maldives.

Qatar rejected these accusations, describing them as an attack on its sovereignty and a sanction for pursuing an independent foreign policy. The blocking countries stopped many exports vital to Doha. Turkey, in response, sent cargo planes of essential goods to Qatar.

In turn, Tamim was the first leader to call on Erdogan to show his support for the failed coup d'état in 2016.​​​​​​​

El presidente turco Recep Tayyip Erdogan reuniéndose con el gobernante de Qatar, el Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani y ambas delegaciones en Doha. AFP / AGENCIA DE NOTICIAS QATAR
AFP / AGENCIA DE NOTICIAS QATAR-Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meeting with Qatar's ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and both delegations in Doha

In military matters, both countries have strengthened their ties with Turkey by maintaining a military base in Qatar since 2015 and the armed forces of both countries, conducting joint military exercises in recent years.

The meeting between Erdogan and Al-Thani, which according to local media lasted just over an hour, focused on opportunities for strengthening bilateral cooperation and the latest developments in regional and international affairs.

It was the second visit of the Turkish president to Doha in three months. One of Erdogan's objectives is to secure funding for his new interventions in the conflict in the Southern Caucasus and his interference in Libya.

Ankara has entered fully into the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan by sending mercenaries from northern Syria to the Azeri country. The Erdogan government has on several occasions expressed its support for Baku in the context of the dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, condemning "the Armenian attack". Doha also supports Ankara's intervention in Libya, where it helped the National Accord Government (NAG) in its clashes with the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar and backed by Egypt and the UAE, among others.

These open fronts, together with Syria's, have caused the Turkish lira to plummet again in recent days, marking historic lows against the dollar and euro, according to data from the Bloomberg agency. The lack of reserves in dollars of the Central Bank of Turkey, added to the political instability and Erdogan's aggressive foreign policy, are pushing down the value of the Turkish currency every day.​​​​​​​

La foto del folleto publicado por la Agencia de Noticias de Qatar (QNA) el 7 de octubre de 2020 muestra al presidente turco Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) saludando al gobernante de Qatar, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, en Doha. AFP / AGENCIA DE NOTICIAS QATAR
AFP / AGENCIA DE NOTICIAS QATAR-Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) greeting Qatar's ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, in Doha

In this context Erdogan has seen the need to request financing from the rich Gulf country, but, as Al-Ain states, because of Doha's wish not to present itself to the world as a financier of war conflicts, the financing will come through agreements and investments between the two countries as a cover for the funds needed to reach Erdogan.

In 2014 the Supreme Strategic Committee was established as a bilateral mechanism to form the basis for high-level cooperation between Turkey and Qatar, with meetings held annually.

Since then, four meetings have been held between Doha, Trabzon and Istanbul, where cooperation in various fields was reflected in the volume of trade between the two countries, which increased by 57 per cent. Today, more than 180 Turkish companies operate in Qatar and the Gulf country ranks first in terms of the number of projects undertaken by Turkish contractors in the region.