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The New Arab

Blockade could steer Qatari investments away from Gulf towards Turkey

Qatar is one of the largest investors in Turkey [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 July, 2017

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In-depth: The blockade of Qatar by its neighbours will drive investors in the gas-rich state to divert their funds away from the countries leading the economic siege towards Turkey.

The blockade of Qatar by its neighbours will drive investors in the gas-rich state to divert their business away from the countries leading the economic siege towards allies such as Turkey, experts have said.

Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Ahmad Al-Thani, chairman of Qatar's biggest building contractor, has said that trade with Turkey will reach new highs as the crisis in the Gulf shows no signs of abating.

"Turkey and Turkish-based companies will the first priority in all of our projects" from now on, Sheikh Abdulaziz told Turkish daily Hurriyet on June 28, suggesting Qatar will scale down trade with the blockading countries in the GCC. 

"I seriously think there will be more investment in Turkey, our doors are open wide to Turkish companies. There are plenty of business opportunities for both countries now and this needs to be utilised," the member of the Qatari royal family, who sits on the board of directors of Sharaka Holdings, said.

Sheikh Abdulaziz added that he believes Qatar will become a centre for Turkish products, adding that an economic zone for Turkish business could be set up in Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain announced on June 5 the suspension of political, economic and diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremist groups.

Doha denies the claims, a stance backed by Turkey which has sent hundreds of aid flights and a cargo ship to bring food for its embattled ally, as well as rushed through legislation to send more troops to its military base in Doha.

Qatar is one of the largest investors in Turkey with investments of more than $20 billion with the volume of investments of Turkish companies operating in Qatar at around $11.6 billion.

Turkish analyst Oktay Yilmaz told The New Arab that he expects the volume of trade between Doha and Ankara to increase by $5 billion annually.

"Qatar still has options in many countries despite the blockade such as Iran, Kuwait and Turkey among others. Turkey's good relations with Qatar and its backing of Doha during the crisis is important opportunity to increase investment," Yilmaz said.

He expressed hope that the diplomatic row will be resolved through dialogue, stressing that if the economic blockade drags out, trade between Doha and Turkey will certainly swell to new highs.

The analyst added that a Qatari economic delegation will visit Turkey "in the next few days" to discuss securing raw materials for construction projects.

Gas-rich Qatar is currently in the middle of a massive $200-plus billion infrastructure programme to help the country to prepare for the 2022 football World Cup. Turkish contractors could fill in any potential gap resulting from the blockade, experts say.

Imports from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, including construction materials and food, represented about 14 percent of Qatar's total imports.

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