Turkey signs deal to boost Qatar trade as two allies grow closer amid diplomatic disputes

Turkey signs deal to boost Qatar trade as two allies grow closer amid diplomatic disputes
2 min read
20 August, 2018
A swap agreement between Turkey and Qatar has been signed in Doha, authorities confirmed, as the two allies grow closer amid ongoing regional disputes.
The two allies have backed each other among ongoing disputes [Getty]

Turkey and Qatar signed a swap deal to facilitate trade between the two allies as the Turkish currency is battered by a deepening spat with Washington, the Turkish central bank confirmed on Monday. 

The agreement was signed in Doha on Friday before the markets closed for a one-week holiday for the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha, it said in a statement. 

"The swap agreement has been signed over Turkish lira and Qatari Riyal and concluded with an overall limit of three billion USD," it added. 

"Core objective of the agreement is to facilitate bilateral trade in respective local currencies and support financial stability of the two countries."

Last week, gas-rich Qatar promised to make a $15 billion direct investment in Turkey during a visit to Ankara by emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan thanked the emir and the people of Qatar for "standing by Turkey" while saying relations with Doha, which he described as a "friendly and brotherly country," would be boosted in many areas. 

Turkey has been rocked over the last weeks by a sharp decline in the value of its lira after US President Donald Trump announced Washington was doubling aluminium and steel tariffs for Ankara.

Washington's move came during an ongoing dispute over Turkey's holding of an American pastor for two years.

In response, Erdogan called for a boycott of US electrical goods while Ankara has sharply hiked tariffs on others.

Turkey and Qatar - which is also a very close US ally - have become economic and political partners in recent times.

Meanwhile, Turkey has also been a key backer of Qatar since the gas-rich emirate was blockaded by a Saudi-led bloc of Arab countries in June last year.

Erdogan strongly denounced the sanctions against Doha and sent cargo ships laden with food when Saudi Arabia closed Qatar's only land borders and other Gulf states ended flights and shipping routes to the country.

Turkey also maintains a military base in Qatar.

Doha has $20 billion worth of investments in Turkey, official figures showed last month, and Ankara is now one of the top exporters to the emirate.

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