Qatar and Turkey: Partners in Islamism

July 2, 2020 | Burak Bekdil
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With Ankara facing a worsening economic situation, it turned to fossil-fuel-rich Doha, which stepped in to save the Turkish lira from freefall, expanding on a 2018 bailout-cum-investment deal. Burak Bekdil explains what’s behind the alliance between these two nominal U.S. allies:

The ideological kinship between the two Sunni Muslim countries, which is based on passionate political support for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood (and a religious hatred of Israel), seems to have produced a bond that threatens Western interests.

In 2014 Turkey and Qatar signed a strategic security agreement that gave Ankara a military base in the Persian Gulf emirate, which is already home to the largest U.S. air base in the Middle East. Turkey stationed some 3,000 ground troops at its Qatari base in addition to air and naval units, military trainers, and special-operations forces.

In 2017, in a Sunni-vs.-Sunni drama in the Persian Gulf, a Saudi-led coalition imposed a blockade on Qatar accusing it of supporting terrorism and fostering ties with the rival Shiite force, Iran. Turkey immediately rushed to Qatar’s aid, sending cargo ships and hundreds of planes loaded with food and essential supplies to break the blockade. . . . The next year, 2018, was payback time for the sheikdom. Doha pledged $15 billion in investment in Turkish banks and financial markets when Turkey’s national currency lost 40 percent of its value against major Western currencies in the face of U.S. sanctions.

In other words, one U.S. ally in the Middle East was financially helping another U.S. ally evade U.S. sanctions.

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