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Solidarity and diplomacy: Key Qatar-Turkey milestones from years-long Erdogan presidency

For almost a decade, the two countries collaborated in numerous fields.

Residents across Qatar took to the streets of the Gulf state on Sunday night following the re-election of ​​Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a highly contest election that went into a run-off vote.

Notably, Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was the first leader to congratulate Erdogan on his reelection, issuing a tweet to his “brother” moments ahead of the final results.

Moments ahead of the final results,

“My dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan, congratulations on your victory, and I wish you success in your new term, and that you achieve in it what the brotherly Turkish people aspire to in terms of progress and prosperity, and for the strong relations of our two countries to further development and growth,” the Qatari leader said in a tweet.

The message from the Qatari leader was widely seen as an indication of the strong relations between the two states, which have grown stronger since Erdogan came to office in 2014 as the country’s first directly elected president.

From the expansion of political relations to joint solidarity, here are some of the key milestones in Doha and Ankara’s ties throughout Erdogan’s time in office.


When Erdogan became president, the Turkish leader chose Qatar as the first Arab country for an official state visit. 

In December of the same year, Sheikh Tamim and Erdogan signed an agreement to establish the Joint Strategic Committee, a series of high-level meetings between the two countries that take place on an annual basis.

The two countries also agreed on enhancing military cooperation by positioning Turkish troops in Qatar.

In December 2013, Erdogan inaugurated the new Turkish Embassy in Doha, months after Sheikh Tamim became the Gulf state’s leader.


Following the signing in the previous year, Qatar and Turkiye held their first Joint Strategic Committee meeting in 2015 in Doha. During the high-level meeting, the two countries inked 15 agreements covering maritime affairs, energy, science, technology, education and environment.

In the same year, the Turkish parliament ratified a military deal inked in 2014 before the first batch of troops arrived in Doha in October of 2015.


In July of 2016, a failed coup attempt that killed hundreds in Turkiye sent shockwaves across the world.

At the height of the event, Sheikh Tamim was the first leader to call Erdogan. Qatar was the first Arab country to condemn the coup attempt.

Two weeks later, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani was the first foreign official to visit Turkiye after the events unfolded.


On the morning of 5 June in 2017, the world woke up to an illegal air, land and sea blockade imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt.

The quartet severed diplomatic ties with Qatar at a time where it heavily depended on imports. Turkiye almost immediately sent food, water and medicine to Qatar.

Between June and September, Turkish exports to Qatar spiked by 90%, based on figures released by Turkiye’s Aegean Exporters’ Association at the time.

One of the 13 demands placed by the quartet to lift the blockade on Qatar included the immediate shutting down of the Turkish military base in the Gulf state. However, Qatar rejected all such demands.

Moments after the blockade was imposed, Turkiye’s defence minister Hulusi Akar said his country will not close its military base in Qatar. Two days after the blockade, the Turkish parliament approved the deployment of additional Turkish troops.


During a major decline in the Turkish lira in 2018, Qatar’s amir announced direct investments that totalled $15 billion during his visit to Ankara.

At the time, Turkiye and the United States, under the former Donald Trump administration, were in the middle of a major political rift. 

Turkiye had imprisoned North Carolina Pastor Andrew Brunson in 2016 after accusing him of being linked to the Gulen movement, a group that Erdogan blamed for the failed coup attempt.

Brunson was released in 2018.


Qatar and Turkiye inaugurated the new headquarters of the Turkish-Qatari joint forces in the Gulf state, the Khalid Ibn Al-Walid Base in December 2019. At least 5,000 troops are stationed at the military post.

At the time, Erdogan described the military base as “the symbol of brotherhood, friendship, solidarity and sincerity”.

“We have never left our friends alone in any period of history against threats and risks – and we never will,” Erdogan said as the GCC crisis continued at the time.


Qatar and Turkiye hosted their sixth Supreme Strategic Committee meeting in the Turkish capital of Ankara, in which the two countries inked 10 agreements.

During the same year, Qatar and Turkiye increased a 2018 currency swap agreement from $5 billion to $15 billion to help the latter’s economy stay afloat amid the depreciation of the lira.


Qatar and Turkiye joined diplomatic efforts in 2021 after the Taliban captured control of Afghanistan in a move that triggered one of the world’s largest airlift of people.

Shortly after the Taliban took over Kabul on 15 August, 2021, the two countries sent technical teams to repair Kabul’s main airport. Civilian flights at Hamid Karzai International Airport were up and running by early September.

The two countries also engaged in talks with the Taliban-led government to discuss the running of Afghanistan’s airport.

During the same year, Qatar helped release seven Turkish civilians after they were held by Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar’s forces for a period of two years. 

Turkiye’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and Ankara’s foreign ministry worked with Qatari intelligence to ensure the safe release and return of the ex-detainees.


The year 2022 saw Qatar crowned as the first Arab and Muslim country to ever host the FIFA World Cup.

At the time, Turkiye dispatched 250 of its troops and around 3,000 riot police in addition to the TCG Burgazada warship to Doha.

Separately, the two countries signed 11 cooperation deals during that year’s strategic dialogue in Turkiye.


On 16 February, Turkiye and Syria were struck with the worst earthquakes to hit the area in a century, in which more than 50,000 people were killed in both countries combined.

Almost immediately, Sheikh Tamim ordered the launch of an air bridge to the affected areas while dispatching more than 120 personnel of the Qatar International Search and Rescue Group of the Internal Security Force – Lekhwiya.

Just hours after the earthquake, Sheikh Tamim held a phone call with Erdogan to express his condolences to the people of Turkiye.

A week later, Qatar’s amir met with President Erdogan in Istanbul as the first leader to visit Turkiye following the deadly earthquakes.

The amir donated QAR 50 million ($14 million) to earthquake victims on live television during the Oun and Sanad campaign in February. The campaign successfully gathered QAR 168,015,836 (around $19 million).

In April, the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) and Turkish emergency response entity, AFAD, announced plans to establish a city in northern Syria that will house 70,000 people.

The project aims to shelter displaced Syrians that have struggled through more than decade of war as well as victims of the most recent February earthquakes.