Qatar-Turkey Friendship Has Strong Historical Foundations

15 10 2017

by Harun Yahya

In the past few days, Qatar’s Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani made a surprise visit to Turkey. The Emir made his first overseas visit to Turkey after the Gulf Crisis and had a closed-door meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan  for 2.5 hours in Beştepe.

In the meeting, which was mainly about the latest situation in the current crisis, the regional and international developments and subsequent steps to be taken were discussed. The focus was on the necessity of finding solutions through diplomatic channels. The bilateral relations between Turkey and Qatar and possible improvements for cooperation in commercial, industrial and military fields were discussed. It is also stated that the latest situation in Syria and Arakan was assessed in the meeting.

In the following days, the visit began to bear fruit for both countries. A 3-year LNG (liquefied natural gas) trade agreement was signed between Turkey’s pipeline oil transportation company Botaş and Qatargas of Qatar. According to the agreement, Qatargas will transfer 1.5 million tons of LNG from Qatar to Turkey every year for 3 years. Qatargas Chief Executive Officer Khalid Bin Khalifa Al-Thani also stated that they desire the aforementioned commercial cooperation to last for many years.

As a matter of fact, the commercial relations between Turkey and Qatar are steadily gaining momentum especially since the early 2000s. Qatar has made many big investments and secured important partnerships in Turkey in recent years.

Since 2015, the shares of many major and critical Turkish companies have been purchased by Qatari businessmen. With worldwide investment volume of 335 billion dollars, Qatar invested approximately 18 billion dollars in Turkey. In 2016, Turkey exported 421 million dollars to Qatar while imports from Qatar amounted to 271 million dollars. The goal is to double this 700 million dollar trade volume. According to the International Investors Association’s (YASED) 2016 report, Qatar ranks 7th among the countries with the highest investments in Turkey.

Likewise, Turkey is mainly active in the construction sector in Qatar. Stating that Qatar has a significant market potential for Turkish construction firms, Contractors’ Union Chairman Mithat Yenigün continued to note that in first quarter of 2017, Turkish companies undertook 128 projects totaling 14.2 billion dollars in Qatar.

Many major infrastructure, transport and structure constructions, including the Doha subway, are among these projects. In addition to this, it is expected that Turkish companies will undertake important projects within the scope of 170 billion dollar worth of investments for infra/superstructure construction jobs for the 2022 World Cup which Qatar will host.

However, there is more to the Turkey-Qatar relations than the mutual and positive developments of the recent period. Qatar-Turkey relations is actually far from being just commercial and economic but goes a long way back and is based on a long-established friendship.

As it is known, Qatar was the last country to leave the Ottoman Empire in 1914.  However, Qatar was always targeted by the threats and attacks of surrounding states and tribes. In the face of such an attack, the great-grandfather of the current Qatar Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani requested help from the Ottoman Empire upon which the Ottomans sent four Turkish flags to Qatar.

After these four flags were planted at four different points in Qatar, the pressure and attacks came to an end during that period. (“The Ottoman Gulf: The Creation of Kuwait, Saudia Arabia, and Qatar”, Frederick F. Anscombe, Columbia University Press, October 1, 1997)

Hence, today’s Turkish-Qatari relations are based on such historical friendship, brotherhood and solidarity. As a matter of fact, it is not possible to forget the support and cooperation provided by Qatar as a demonstration of this spirit of brotherhood after the coup attempt on July 15 in Turkey. Qatar’s Emir has shown to the whole world that Qatar is a true friend of the Turkish people by announcing their support for Turkish government immediately after this treacherous coup attempt.

Moreover, according to a report by Middle East Monitor, after the coup attempt, Qatar sent 150 members of their Special Forces to Turkey for the protection of President Erdogan. The Turkish Embassy in Qatar explained that “this cooperation has strengthened the relations between the two countries”.

As expected, Turkey also took immediate action following the Gulf states’ embargo and sanctions on Qatar. Since the beginning of the crisis, Turkey mobilised aid for food, textile and any other urgent needs of the country. Currently, Turkey is doing its best to ensure that Qatar’s stocks of food and other consumption supplies are not lacking. Turkey coming to Qatar’s aid in less than 24 hours was extensively covered by the foreign media.

Citizens on the other hand shared the photos of Turkish products in market shelves with the message “Greetings Ottomans” in social media: An account named Khalid_AlSuliti shared photos of Turkish products in supermarkets, saying “Within 24 hours of our neighbours’ blockade, Turkish products arrived at our market shelves”. Sarah AlMuhanadi shared the message; “I always knew that Turkey was a friend of Qatar. But I did not expect so much love and solidarity from the Turkish people. Thank you Turkey.” Television host Usame Caviş tweeted; “Things seem to have simmered down with the inclusion of Turkey. May God protect the people of Qatar“.

Turkey continues to make calls for dialog and reconciliation, as it has been from the very beginning, to end this meaningless crisis in the Gulf. It offers full support to Qatar by utilising all kinds of diplomatic contacts.

As you can see, the events that at first seemed malignant led to two old friends reconnecting and uniting their forces while strengthening their ties of friendship and brotherhood. From now on, these two important countries will continue to cooperate and work under the roof of friendship and brotherhood for the peace and comfort of the region. It is our greatest wish that this beautiful spirit of love, unity and brotherhood set an example for all Muslims and envelop the entire Islamic world as soon as possible.

 

The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science. He may be followed at @Harun_Yahya and www.harunyahya.com


Is the Syrian War About to End?

8 10 2017

by Harun Yahya

September 15th marked an important accord between Turkey, Iran and Russia in the 6th round of Astana Talks that first started on January 6th of this year. The nexus agreed to add a fourth region to the establishment of de-escalation zones, which they decided in the May meeting of Astana for a period of six months. The target in Astana was to give security for civilians by creating these de-escalation zones, which Turkey had been demanding for a long time. However, the de-escalation zone is not the same as the previous safe zone proposals but rather a “new concept” according to President Erdogan.

This decision proved to serve the purpose since hostilities diminished sharply in the first three agreed zones with the help of some of the associated states. The three guarantors decided to send 500 observers each to support the ceasefire and monitor the violations. The Foreign Minister made a written statement concerning the aim of forming this zone by saying that the observers’ mission will be to prevent clashes between “the (Syrian) regime and the opposition forces, and any violations of the truce”.

Reaching a consensus is unquestionably a positive progress for the long-established conflict in Syria and is considered as a unity against the radical groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS.  Creating the fourth de-escalation zone is particularly important in the eyes of the affiliated countries due to various factors. First of all, Idlib has a border with Turkey and is close to the city of Hatay. Since armed radical groups are dominant in Idlib, including the ones transferred from Aleppo, Turkey was concerned there would be a wave of influx of these groups in case there was an escalation in conflict there. However, as a result of the negotiations in Astana, the armed radical groups are to be retreated in a region in the midway of Idlib, which would prevent them to advance to the Turkish border.

Idlib is also important for the YPG because it was their target province to proceed to reach the Mediterranean Sea. It’s quite interesting that the terrorist group announced this following the agreement of the de-escalation zones signed in May in Astana. However, by this final decision, Afrin is surrounded on the three sides and hence the YPG forces are unable to move down to the South. Through the Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkey had halted YPG to join the cantons of Afrin and Kobane by taking control of the region in between. Taking Idlib under the authority of the Turkish, Russian and Iranian observers, is certainly a big blow for this terrorist group.  The primary reason for the US to take Idlib seriously is that the region is Al-Qaeda’s closest spot to the West. Moreover, the US does not consider Al-Qaeda’s existence as a temporary but rather a long-term struggle. Besides, Idlib is home to some US-backed opposition groups that function along with them during clashes.

Given the significance for the involved parties, before the Astana agreement was finalized, there were rumors that some operations would take place in Idlib either by Turkey or the US or Russia. Even analysts from Turkey were contemplating it would meet Turkey’s best interests if it initiated simultaneous operations on Idlib and Afrin. Yet, this latest improvement led to different steps to be taken. While the Russian military and Chechen leader Kadyrov’s police forces will be deployed on the eastern part of Idlib, Turkish troops will be stationed on the western parts to sustain stability in the province. Since the contract instructs “rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access”,  international humanitarian aid will continue to be delivered via the Turkish border of Cilvegözü to the estimated 2.5 million people who inhabit the four de-escalation zones. Additionally, within the same Memorandum, parties also came to a conclusion concerning the need to take confidence building measures such as the exchange of prisoners and corpses as well as identification of missing people.

While this positive development takes place, a new project that would jeopardize the territorial integrity of Iraq is in effect. The Northern Iraq Regional Government insists on an independence poll to take place on September 25thdespite strong rejections from the regional countries including Iran and Turkey. Given the current situation in the region, another national breakdown is the last thing anyone needs. Not pleased with this, the Iraqi Supreme Court declared the ruling concerning the preparations of the referendum to be halted after receiving several “requests to stop the referendum.” This is definitely a sound decision for the well-being of the region because such fragmentations will generate new conflicts since the ultimate plan for the PKK and its affiliates is to form a communist state consisting of Kurdish minorities located in Turkey, Iran and Syria.

Only the regional players can provide the security in the Middle East. Powers participating from the outside give priority to their own interests. Therefore, it is essential for the three guarantors to be in consensus and harmony as much as possible. Stability can also be obtained via our own power, and sustaining the unitary structure of the states is of utmost importance.  Therefore, the final memorandum of Astana beginning with the guarantors’ determination to protect “the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syrian Arab Republic” is noteworthy. The PKK is playing with fire by trying to create an “autonomous Kurdish state” in Northern Syria alongside the Turkish border. Nevertheless, Turkey, Iran and Russia will never allow the region to be fragmented whatsoever similar to defeating the plots formulated inside Syria and succeeding by taking solid steps on the way to attain peace.

 

The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science. He may be followed at @Harun_Yahya and www.harunyahya.com