The robust political and military relations between Ankara and Doha, which particularly gained ground after a Saudi-led embargo on Qatar, continue to strengthen, led by bilateral economic ties.
Businesspeople from both Qatar and Turkey have shown increasing interest in each other’s countries. Qataris boosted their investments, while Turkish businessmen won multiple tenders in the Gulf country.
Most recently, a Turkish firm won a catering tender that will provide meals for the Qatari military. Up until now, these tenders were generally won by British and French companies.
Yemek Istanbul has established a new kitchen in Qatar after signing a deal on Aug. 8. It will provide 110,000 meals per day to the Qatari military.
The duration of the $2 billion agreement is 15 years, the company’s CEO Hüseyin Bozdağ said. Around 30-40 containers of food per month will be sent, Bozdağ told Turkish Sabah daily Tuesday.
“Ninety-five percent of the ingredients in the meals provided to the Qatari military are being sent from Turkey. We have taken a decision with our Qatari partners to implement a positive view of Turkey,” he added.
The two allies’ close economic ties strengthened significantly after a Saudi-led embargo on Qatar. Ankara emerged as one of Qatar’s top partners since the Saudi Arabia-led bloc launched a trade and diplomatic boycott of the Gulf state in 2017, sending additional troops and food to meet Qatar’s needs just after the embargo began.
The Saudi-led bloc, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, cut all diplomatic and transport links with Qatar in June 2017 over allegations that it backed radical groups and sought closer ties with the Saudi’s regional archrival, Iran. Doha vehemently denies the charges.
They Turkey-Qatar bilateral trade volume has increased by 84% over the last decade, hitting $1.3 billion in 2018, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat). In the first nine months of 2019, Turkish exports to Qatar were recorded at $838 million, while imports from the Gulf nation reached $205 million.
On the other hand, Qatar’s investments in Turkey are estimated to have surpassed $20 billion to date. Turkish investments in Qatar are projected to be worth some $17 billion, and they have increased further during the preparations for the football World Cup set for 2022.
Bozdağ said a company named Yemek Doha was established in Qatar following the tender. “To date, companies of Western countries had always won these tenders. As a Turkish company, we have won an international tender for the first time. This will continue in other countries. Other regional countries also want to do business with us,” he noted.
The CEO underscored that 1,400 have been employed in Qatar, a figure he said would further increase in the coming period. “We will make a $1.5 billion purchase of items such as food, meat, dishes and boiler machines,” said Bozdağ.
Turkey has high prestige in Qatar, bringing along increasing responsibilities, said Bozdağ, who also noted that Western companies that previously did the same job had not complied with hygiene and dining hall rules. Garbage was also kept inside the dining hall, he continued, adding that his company has assigned a hygiene worker to each table and the garbage has been taken out of the hall. “Western companies thought little of hygiene and taste. They neglected their work. We primarily raised the human standards,” Bozdağ added.
He concluded by saying that the work on dining halls for 10 troop units has been completed, while the rest of the work will finish by the end of June.