Qatar-Turkey trade volume rises by 750% in June: Ambassador Jul 17, 2017 0 1756 12345 Hisham AljundiDohaTHE trade volume between Qatar and Turkey rose by 750% last month compared to 2016, according to Turkish Ambassador to Qatar HE Fikret Ozer.In an interview with Qatar Tribune on Sunday on the occasion of the first anniversary of the failed coup attempt in Turkey, Ozer thanked the Qatari leadership and its people for standing with Turkey during the crisis last year.The ambassador said that, with coordination between the Qatari Ministry of Economy and Commerce and its counterpart in Turkey, Turkish goods smoothly and quickly reached Qatari markets to fill the vacuum created by the blockade imposed by neighbouring countries. "Our approach to the crisis has been humanitarian initiative in the first place as we are keen to ensure that nobody in the Gulf region gets affected in any way, especially our Qatari friends as they imported 40 percent of their needs from their neighbours," Ozer said.He said a special air route was created within two days after the crisis in cooperation with the Qatari government to deliver Turkish goods to Qatar.Ozer added that the facilities Qatari government provided for the Turkish businessmen have helped in boosting trade and investment in Qatar, especially during this crisis as Turkish nationals have been exempted from entry visa to Qatar in order to explore commercial opportunities here. "Cooperation with Qatar has expanded rapidly as our relations have been progressing so well in the last 10 years," the ambassador said.According to him, the trade volume between Qatar and Turkey is expected to reach $1bn by the end of this year with a plan to raise it to $2bn within the next two years. He said the current figure does not include Turkish military equipment transactions with Qatar as a high-level delegation led by the Emir His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, during his last visit to Turkey, signed several agreements to buy Turkish weaponry worth around $2bn within two years.The Turkish ambassador stressed his country's position in resolving the crisis peacefully through negotiations as soon as possible. "We will do our best to support the Kuwaiti initiative to find a solution for this crisis and President Erdogan will soon visit Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for this purpose," Ozer said.Commenting on the Turkish position on the crisis, Ozer said that his country is neutral and maintains good relations with all the GCC countries while standing with Qatar to cushion the effect of the blockade. "As we are one of the main members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), we couldn't just watch Qatar being affected by an 'unjust and unIslamic' blockade and not move to help. The Egyptian position is contradictory as they called for non-interference in the GCC internal affairs while they joined the Saudi-led ally against Qatar," the ambassador said.Regarding the deployment of Turkish troops in Qatar, the ambassador said the move aimed at maintaining stability and security of the entire GCC region and not only Qatar, adding that the agreement to establish a Turkish military base in GCC countries was reached four years ago before any crisis in the region without any objection from Saudi Arabia. "We were surprised by their demand for Qatar to shut the Turkish military base because we had offered them the same opportunity and we had no objection from them till now," Ozer added, stressing that Turkey considers any harm on the region as harm to it as well.In tourism sector, the ambassador said that the number of Qatari tourists to Turkey has risen from 33,000 last year to 40,000 this year. "More Qataris are not only visiting Turkey now and spending their holidays there, but they are also buying property and summer residences there," the ambassador said.He also pointed out that the number of Turkish nationals in Qatar has grown to 8,000 due to the ease of entry Qatari government has granted them.He added that the ease of commercial exchange between the two countries as a result of rise in the number and quality of Turkish investments and establishments in Doha recently, adding Doha will soon witness the inauguration of more luxurious restaurant chains and brand names such as the renowned 'Salt bae' Nusret Gokce chain. 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