Customs and Trade Minister Bülent Tüfenkci has said that Turkey will accelerate efforts to facilitate transit through Iraq and Iran, especially to increase trade with Qatar. "We want to create a mechanism that will facilitate transit between the two countries and provide transit through Iraq," he added.
Tüfenkci attended the Turkey-Qatar Business Forum organized bythe Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort and Convention Hotel.
In a speech at the forum, Tüfenkci said that they do not separate Qatar's security, peace and stability from Turkey's, and relations have reached an excellent level, especially in recent years with mutual common political determination.
Recalling that Ankara has been opposed to the unfair and unlawful embargo and isolating attempts imposed by some countries on Qatar last year from the beginning, Tüfenkci said Turkey stood by Qatar and its people and showed political, economic and military support. He said that the trade volume between the two countries, which was around $784 million in 2015, reached $788 million as of November 2017, even though it dropped to $678 million in 2016.
"I think that the foreign trade between the two countries should be much higher than this. The biggest task for this falls upon you, the businesspeople. As politicians and relevant ministries of the two countries, we are ready to give you all kinds of support for this," Tüfenkci said.
He said Turkey has become a major economic player both in its region and in the world with its young and qualified labor force, large domestic market, disciplined financial sector, improved infrastructure and competitive private sector.
Citing that the economy grew by 7.1 percent on average between 2011 and 2015, and that its growth figure in the third quarter of 2017 was 11.1 percent, Tüfenkci said Turkey was the fastest growing economy in the third quarter of 2017, leaving behind all countries with this performance, while it is also a country where competition rules apply. "Our laws are implemented with a regulatory approach to provide convenience to investors," he said. "We have a free market economy in which goods and services can be exchanged between individuals and institutions without any hindrance."
Tüfenkci said that structural reforms are very important in the economy, adding that major development projects, covering large-scale energy infrastructure investments, have been realized. He continued that Turkey and Qatar's economies complement each other and that they could enter third country markets together with joint investments in many fields.
Tüfenkci said that Turkey has the world's second-largest construction sector, and that there are 42 Turkish companies among the 250 largest contracting firms.
He said that Turkey is determined to take all the steps necessary in order to improve relations with Qatar. "I would like to emphasize once again that we have a willingness to fulfill our obligation to provide mutual facilities especially for businesspeople and encourage investments. We must diversify our trade with all means, and move it to high added value areas and increase it," he said. "We will accelerate our efforts to facilitate transit through Iraq and Iran, especially to increase our trade with Qatar. We want to create a mechanism that will facilitate transit between the two countries and provide transit through Iraq."
Qatari Economy and Commerce Minister Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed al-Thani, said that they support foreign investors and the private sector. Thani noted that they are trying to benefit from oil and other sectors, as well, adding that investors have all the rights Qatari citizens have. Thani said Qatar and Turkey are linked to each other with a special fellowship. "I would like to also thank both the Qatari and Turkish private sectors. They have made a great effort to overcome the cruel embargo imposed on Qatar," Thani said, suggesting that strategic partnerships will be established, and their economic position will move forward. Thani indicated that Qatar has become an important country attracting investments in the region, and that the Turkey-Qatar Business Forum will bring favorable results between the two countries in the short, medium and long term.