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Erdogan: Turkey, Qatar to deepen cooperation

January 15, 2019 at 11:34 am

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomes the Qatari Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani in Ankara, Turkey on 14 September 2017 [Anadolu Agency]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this weekend that Ankara’s cooperation with Qatar will continue to strengthen in various sectors including defence, trade, tourism, and energy.

Speaking at a meeting in Turkey’s north-western province of Sakarya, Erdogan said that “we have never forgotten and will never forget the solidarity displayed to our country by our Qatari brothers on nearly all issues – from the July 15 coup attempt to the attacks in August on [our] exchange rates”.

Underlining that the partnership between the two countries is based on a “win-win” model, Erdogan said that Ankara and Doha consolidated their friendship with every “calamity” they have faced together.

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Erdogan also stressed that Turkey would continue to develop its defence industry, which he said had more than halved its foreign dependence – from 80 per cent in 2002 to 35 per cent in 2019. He explained: “Turkey’s military capacity and economic, political and diplomatic capabilities should be robust,” adding that the deterrence of its defence sector had to be “particularly” high.

Addressing a separate rally in Sakarya this weekend, Erdogan also underlined his government’s support for local entrepreneurs in the defence sector: “Believe me, were it not for our armed and unarmed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), ships, artillery, missiles, armored vehicles, communications systems and software, they would not allow us even to breath,” likely referring to regional powers which have allegedly sought to curb Turkey’s influence and strength.