Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday arrived for political and economic talks in Qatar focused on regional and international developments including ongoing crises in Syria and Iraq.
The Turkish president is expected to hold talks later today with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
Before visiting Qatar, Erdogan had visited Bahrain and Saudi Arabia with a view to strengthening Turkey’s political and economic ties with the oil-rich Gulf States.
Erdogan is being accompanied on his tour by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu; Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak; Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci; National Defense Minister Fikri Isik; and National Intelligence Agency chief Hakan Fidan.
Turkey-Qatar relations have developed significantly in recent years amid joint efforts to resolve outstanding regional crises.
"The Syria crisis, developments in Yemen and the fight against terrorism will all be on the agenda of talks [in Qatar] due to their negative impact on regional stability," Turkish Ambassador to Qatar Ahmet Demirok told Qatar’s official QNA news agency.
According to Demirok, Turkey hopes to step up bilateral cooperation with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member-states in general and Qatar in particular.
"The fruits of cooperation between Turkey and its Gulf partners can be seen in the foreign policies of these countries," Ismail Numan Telci, deputy director of the Middle East Institute, wrote for Qatar’s English-language daily The Peninsula.
"Both Saudi Arabia and Qatar attach importance to Turkey's priorities in the region and offer their support on many regional issues," Telci wrote.
According to Telci, Turkey is also keen to diversify its primary sources of energy.
While Saudi Arabia and Qatar both represent important energy partners for Turkey, Telci added, Riyadh and Doha both see Turkey as a safe haven for investment in a number of sectors.
Economic relations between Turkey and Qatar saw significant growth between 2007 and 2016 -- a period that also coincided with improved diplomatic relations.
Last year, Turkey exported some $440 million worth of ships, yachts, electrical and electronic devices, machines and furniture to Qatar.
Over the same period, Turkey imported some $271 million worth of oil, petroleum products, aluminum and plastic products from Qatari manufacturers.
Turkey has become an attractive market for Gulf investors in several fields, including the banking, transport, tourism, real estate and energy sectors.
In 2016, Qatar National Bank, the Gulf region’s largest bank, acquired Turkey’s Finansbank from the National Bank of Greece for 2.7 billion euros ($2.95 billion).
The number of investment projects now being undertaken by Turkish contractors in Qatar, meanwhile, currently stands at over 120 at a combined worth of some $17 billion.
By Bahattin Gonultas in Doha