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Qatar to invest billions of dollars in Turkey amid currency crisis

Doha government will purchase a mall and shares of Istanbul stock exchange amid a deep currency crisis in Turkey
Qatari Emir Al Thani and Turkish President Erdogan pose for cameras in Ankara on 26 November, 2020 before a bilateral meeting (Turkish Presidency/Supplied)
By Ragip Soylu in Ankara

The Qatari government has signed new investment deals worth billions of dollars for the Turkish economy, including purchasing a luxury mall and buying a big chunk of shares in the Borsa Istanbul stock exchange, Middle East Eye has learned.

The Qatari Investment Authority inked the purchasing deals as part of a bilateral trip by the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to Ankara on Thursday. He met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to join the 6th strategic summit between the two nations.

'We are at a point where it's actually hard to find new ways to co-operate. Our alliance is now very deep, from the defence sector to the economy'

- Turkish official

Among the investments, Qatar will acquire a 10 percent sharehold in the Borsa Istanbul from Turkey Wealth Fund, which controls more than 90 percent of the total shares. 

Doha will also buy 42 percent of Istinye Park, a shopping mall in Istanbul, for a reported $1 billion from Turkey's Dogus Holding, which owns the remaining 58 percent stake. 

Located on the “Qatar Street”, Istinye Park is one of Turkey’s biggest and most visited malls, with 300 stores and a car park with a capacity of 3,200 vehicles. 

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The Qatari government will also contribute investment in the Golden Horn Marina project in Istanbul. The sum of the investment was not specified.

Doha, in a separate deal, also made official terminal operating company QTerminals' purchase of Antalya’s Port Akdeniz, in a $140m deal signed with Global Ports Holding (GPH).

Currency crisis

The new investments come as the Turkish economy suffers a currency crisis. The Turkish lira has lost nearly 40 percent of its value this year due to depleted foreign reserves and unorthodox monetary policies. 

A senior Turkish official, speaking anonymously, said that the bilateral ties between the two allies were standing on a strong foundation and both sides were always looking for ways to deepen the cooperation.

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“We are at a point where it's actually hard to find new ways to co-operate. Our alliance is now very deep, from the defence sector to the economy,” the official said. “President Erdogan and the Qatari emir also have a very friendly relationship.”

Turkey and Qatar are close allies, a relationship forged over the years through joint military operations in Somalia and Libya, and a united front against Doha's Gulf neighbours. Ankara has a major military base in the emirate.

Qatar already has investments in Turkey worth tens of billions of dollars from the entertainment sector to defence companies.

Turkey’s exports to Qatar have jumped three times in the last five years, as bilateral trade between the two countries reached up to $2.24 billion in 2019.

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