Plans are being explored to open Turkish banks in Qatar as part of Turkey’s efforts to widen its investments in the Qatari market, ambassador Fikret Ozer has said.
One of Turkey’s largest banks, VakifBank, is eyeing plans to open a branch in Qatar, according to Ozer, who spoke to reporters in Doha on Wednesday on the third anniversary of the failed coup in July 2016. He did not elaborate on the details but said that this could be explored in the future.
The ambassador underscored the growing relations between Qatar and Turkey, saying that other companies in the transcontinental country are also exploring opportunities in Qatar’s health sector.
“There are also some companies that are exploring the Qatari market for opportunities to establish Turkish hospitals…considering the fluctuations in the Turkish economy, this might also push them forward to invest more abroad,” Ozer said.
In 2018, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani vowed to invest $15bn in Turkey’s financial markets, as well as its banks. Ozer said: “One third of this has already been transferred to Turkey in terms of investments.”
On Qatar-Turkey economic relations, Ozer said Turkey exported $450mn worth of goods to Qatar in 2016. In 2018, Turkish exports to Qatar exceeded $1.1bn. “These economic relations are mutually-based, so Turkish companies have investments in Qatar and vice versa. And trade volume between both countries is increasing,” the ambassador said.
He also dispelled reports that Qatar has pulled out its investments in Turkey: “There is also no truth to the propaganda being circulated in the UAE that Qatari investors had pulled out of Turkey, and that Qatar is not of any help to Turkey in economic terms. There had been rumors that Qatar withdrew funds from the Turkish Stock Exchange; but this not true.”
Asked if Turkey has plans to put up a memorial commemorating Qatar and Turkey’s solidarity during the July 2016 coup attempt, Ozer said: “It would be an interesting idea to set up a memorial recognising the support Qatar has extended to Turkey after the failed coup. In the future, we could talk to our Qatari counterparts to realise this project, which would be a sign of solidarity between our two nations.
“In fact in Turkey, we have signed photographs of both His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and our president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to express our solidarity with Qatar. This is a good idea and it could be done.”
He added: “Considering the robust relations between Qatar and Turkey, we are considering in the future to further develop more partnerships in the public and private sectors. While these things will take time, we have already started laying the foundations for these plans.
“After 2016, we have already witnessed an increase in Turkey and Qatar’s economic and political relationships; there has been much improvement since then. For instance, Qatar aims to establish a cultural institute in Turkey, whereas we already have one in Qatar.”