Qatar has agreed to buy a stake in the Istanbul Stock Exchange in one of several deals that affirm the wealthy Gulf nation’s status as one of Ankara’s major financiers at a time when the Turkish economy is under pressure.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Khalifa, the Emir of Qatar, took advantage of a visit to Ankara on Thursday to announce that the Qatar Investment Authority, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, is taking a 10 percent stake in Borsa Istanbul from Turkey’s own wealth fund for an undisclosed price would buy sum.
QIA also agreed to buy a stake in a luxury Istanbul shopping mall from troubled Turkish conglomerate Dogus Holding. Dogus, who has been forced to restructure loans worth billions of dollars and sell assets after a sharp decline in the value of the Turkish lira in recent years, will receive around $ 300 million for the 30 percent stake, according to Bloomberg.
Although the value of the deals is relatively small, they offer Turkey a boost at a time when the country is suffering from dwindling FDI. Foreign direct investment fell to $ 5.6 billion last year, its lowest level in 15 years, of which around 10 percent came from Qatar.
Sheikh Tamim wrote on Twitter that the agreements would cement the “growing partnership” between Qatar and Turkey. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish President, said the two countries would further strengthen their “unbreakable” bond.
Sheikh Tamim and Mr. Erdogan have developed a close friendship in recent years.
Ankara sent military support to Qatar in 2017 to demonstrate its support after its Gulf neighbors imposed a punitive air, land and sea blockade on the emirate. Doha has returned favor several times and saved Turkey in times of financial stress.
In 2018, in the midst of a severe currency crisis, Doha pledged to invest $ 15 billion in Turkey. Although there was little direct investment, the announcement was seen as a major show of support, and Qatar also strengthened Turkey’s dwindling foreign exchange reserves through a $ 5 billion swap agreement.
This year, as a new drop in the lira and the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic put the Turkish economy under further pressure of $ 750 billion, Doha expanded its support to the central bank’s coffers to $ 15 billion.
The alliance between Qatar and Turkey has strengthened as regional rivalries have escalated and Doha and Ankara are in the opposing camp against the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Thursday’s agreements also included commitments to step up cooperation between several ministries in the two countries and an agreement to buy a Turkish port.
QTerminals, a partially state-owned port operator in Qatar, has signed a $ 140 million contract to purchase a terminal in Turkey’s Mediterranean province of Antalya from Global Ports Holding, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange.