Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, shakes hands with Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani prior to their meeting in Ankara, Friday, July 14, 2017. Al Thani told reporters in Ankara Friday that Qatar would continue to work with the United States and Kuwait to end the standoff with its four Arab neighbours.(Presidency Press Service/Pool Photo via AP)
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right,with Qatar's foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Ankara, on July 14, 2017. Mr Edogan was due in the Gulf nine days on July 23. PShow more

Erdogan's GCC trip a balancing act of political and economic agendas



The Turkish president on Sunday begins a two-day trip to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, the latest leader to throw his country’s weight behind the gathering momentum of mediation efforts to resolve the Gulf crisis.

But for Ankara, which is viewed by the four countries boycotting Qatar as having fully backed Doha, the more important purpose of the visit is likely to be the salvaging of relationships that have become crucial for Turkey’s economy and maintaining the difficult balancing act between interests in the region.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated his intention to try to help resolve the dispute between “brothers of the Gulf” when he meets with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday in Jeddah. "Political problems are temporary whereas economic ties are permanent, and I expect the investors from Gulf counties to choose long-term ties," he said on Friday in Istanbul.

Mr Erdogan will then travel to Kuwait, which is mediating between the two sides, and from there to Doha for discussions with his closest ally in the GCC, the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Al Thani.

From the first days after Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt closed land, air and sea links with Qatar, Turkey moved in to fill the gap, exporting food to keep the supermarket shelves full. It also fast-tracked the deployment of troops to a new military base near Doha.

To many, it is largely thanks to Turkey that Qatar has been able to withstand the boycott .Mr Erdogan’s remarks during Ramadan that the isolating of Qatar was “un-Islamic” also sparked widespread anger, with officials using unusually undiplomatic language to hint at longer-term damage to the strategic ties between Ankara and Riyadh that for various reasons, have strengthened significantly since King Salman took the throne in 2015.

“Our Turkish brothers need to recognise that the era of covert and to some extent unwanted intervention in the Arab world has long gone,” Riyadh’s UN envoy, Abdallah Al Mouallimi said last week.

While Mr Erdogan is likely to echo the Americans, the British, the French and the Germans — all of whom have engaged in Gulf shuttle diplomacy in recent weeks — analysts believe he will also emphasise, perhaps foremost, the mutual economic and strategic interests, particularly concerning Iran.

His mediation efforts are unlikely to succeed, however, according to observers.

“There is no doubt that Turkey is not qualified to have initiatives in this crisis because they don’t think Qatar is making any mistakes, that the four countries are wrong and Qatar is right,” said a Saudi diplomatic source, who added that Ankara had requested the talks.

“In the end I’m sure that nothing will be added from this visit, but Mr Erdogan will be welcomed with a cup of tea and Arabic coffee and at the end there is no expectation that he will change the mind of Saudi Arabia,” the source said.

He may find a more sympathetic ear when it comes to saving the growing economic partnership between Turkey and the GCC states which has done so much to repair the rift that developed early on during the Arab Spring, when Ankara and Doha backed Islamist political movements in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere.

As Ankara's ties with bigger markets in Europe and neighbours such as Syria, Iraq and Egypt have diminished, the GCC is increasingly important to Ankara for energy security, as a source of investment capital, as a player in the finance and Islamic banking sector and as a major market for its defence and construction industries.

Turkey also matters to the GCC countries that want to diversify their economies and attract foreign investment. Turkish firms have won contracts worth billions for airport construction and operations in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. About 200 Turkish firms operate in the kingdom.

“I do see Saudi Vision 2030 as particularly dependent on foreign investment, especially in the infrastructure space," said Karen Young, a political economist and senior scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. "Of the firms and partners with the most Gulf experience, there are very few and many are Turkish in origin.”

But, she added, "while Qatari FDI in Turkey has been increasing since 2013, I think the Saudi position probably has more leverage at the moment".

Only two months ago, Mr Erdogan was in Kuwait to talk about long-stalled plans for a free-trade agreement with the entire GCC bloc and the establishment of industrial free zones in the Gulf. That trip capped fast-tracked political initiatives, including the return of a UAE ambassador to Ankara and an exchange of visits by the foreign minister of the two counties. Although relations between Abu Dhabi and Ankara remained strained, there was more movement on economic cooperation and a number of agreements were signed in the past year.

While Qatar has increased its trade and investment ties with its close partner, so too have Saudi and UAE. The two countries imported US$8.6 billion (Dh31.6bn) of Turkish goods and services last year, more than 20 times the $439 million in exports to Qatar.

But Turkish exports to the three boycotting GCC countries dropped significantly after the crisis erupted on June 5. According to Turkey’s Exporters Assembly, exports to Saudi dropped by more than 36 per cent during June, and by more than 20 per cent to the UAE. “The increase in the flow of Qatari capital to Turkey and opening its doors to Turkish export goods do not appear to be enough to make up for these losses,” said Charlotte Brandsma, a Turkey researcher at the German Marshall Fund.

Qatar and Turkey have a “special relationship”, said Birol Baskan, a professor at Georgetown University, “but Saudi Arabia and the UAE are equally, and from an economic perspective even more important than Qatar.”

If Turkey is unable to persuade Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to prioritise shared economic interests and convince the Saudis that Turkey will not align fully with Qatar, the economic consequences could increase.

“In this context, I think that the Saudis will bargain with Erdogan: if you don't stop your support for Doha, we will downgrade our economic relations,” said Jana Jabbour, a professor who studies Turkey's Middle East relations at Sciences Po. “In that sense, Erdogan has a very limited space for manoeuvre.”

Riyadh and Ankara have also begun to cooperate more on defence production, with a joint venture deal signed last year between the largest Turkish defence firm, Aseslan and Saudi Arabia's Taqnia. A diversification of defence relationships and the development of its domestic arms industry are both important goals for Riyadh, and a source said that Turkey has been negotiating the sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia this year, in what potentially be could be Ankara's biggest ever defence sale.

“Turkey obviously doesn't want to lose this deal, which partly explains Erdogan's eagerness to personally get involved in the crisis and try to solve it,” the source said.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia also have a shared interest in containing the regional influence of Iran, which has been increasing in the wake of its role in Iraq and Syria and the lifting of nuclear-related economic sanctions. But the Gulf crisis has thrown into relief the tightrope Turkey has to walk in turning to Riyadh and the Gulf as a regional partner.

Turkey is also economically interdependent with Iran, and shares a key interest in preventing Kurdish groups from forming a state. Both countries view themselves as important transport hubs for China’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative linking Asia and Europe through trade infrastructure.

The crisis has pushed Turkey closer to Iran for the time being “as Erdogan is seeking alternatives for economic investment and energy supplies,” Ms Brandsma said. The Turkish trade minister visited Tehran last month with a large business delegation and the two countries set goals of a free-trade agreement and increasing annual trade from $30 billion to $50 billion.

“Who is the friend of Turkey now, is it Iran for example, or is it Russia?” said the Saudi diplomatic source. If so, “it will weaken the track between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, it will weaken the future” of their relationship.

Until the Gulf crisis, Turkey and Saudi Arabia were able to put aside the issue of the Muslim Brotherhood, but Ankara could come under more pressure if it were left as the sole regional power patronising Islamist parties.

"Erdogan will want to make sure that Qatar doesn’t give in to Riyadh’s demand to end Doha’s financial support for the Muslim Brotherhood," Ms Brandsma said. "Without Qatar, Turkey would be left as the sole main supporter of the group which could lead to rising tensions between Riyadh and Ankara."

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022

First match: November 20
Final 16 round: December 3 to 6
Quarter-finals: December 9 and 10
Semi-finals: December 13 and 14
Final: December 18

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Results

ATP Dubai Championships on Monday (x indicates seed):

First round
Roger Federer (SUI x2) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) bt Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) bt Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-1, 7-6 (7/5)
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) bt Karen Khachanov (RUS x4) 6-4, 6-1
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) bt Milos Raonic (CAN x7) 6-4, 5-7, 6-4

THE SPECS

Engine: 3-litre V6 turbo (standard model, E-hybrid); 4-litre V8 biturbo (S)
Power: 350hp (standard); 463hp (E-hybrid); 467hp (S)
Torque: 500Nm (standard); 650Nm (E-hybrid); 600Nm (S)
Price: From Dh368,500
On sale: Now

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

How to get exposure to gold

Although you can buy gold easily on the Dubai markets, the problem with buying physical bars, coins or jewellery is that you then have storage, security and insurance issues.

A far easier option is to invest in a low-cost exchange traded fund (ETF) that invests in the precious metal instead, for example, ETFS Physical Gold (PHAU) and iShares Physical Gold (SGLN) both track physical gold. The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF invests directly in mining companies.

Alternatively, BlackRock Gold & General seeks to achieve long-term capital growth primarily through an actively managed portfolio of gold mining, commodity and precious-metal related shares. Its largest portfolio holdings include gold miners Newcrest Mining, Barrick Gold Corp, Agnico Eagle Mines and the NewMont Goldcorp.

Brave investors could take on the added risk of buying individual gold mining stocks, many of which have performed wonderfully well lately.

London-listed Centamin is up more than 70 per cent in just three months, although in a sign of its volatility, it is down 5 per cent on two years ago. Trans-Siberian Gold, listed on London's alternative investment market (AIM) for small stocks, has seen its share price almost quadruple from 34p to 124p over the same period, but do not assume this kind of runaway growth can continue for long

However, buying individual equities like these is highly risky, as their share prices can crash just as quickly, which isn't what what you want from a supposedly safe haven.

The specs

Price, base / as tested Dh135,000

Engine 1.6L turbo

Gearbox Six speed automatic with manual and sports mode

Power 165hp @ 6,000rpm

Torque 240Nm @ 1,400rpm 0-100kph: 9.2 seconds

Top speed 420 kph (governed)

Fuel economy, combined 35.2L / 100km (est)

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Biography

Her family: She has four sons, aged 29, 27, 25 and 24 and is a grandmother-of-nine

Favourite book: Flashes of Thought by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid

Favourite drink: Water

Her hobbies: Reading and volunteer work

Favourite music: Classical music

Her motto: I don't wait, I initiate

 

 

 

 

 

The Bio

Amal likes watching Japanese animation movies and Manga - her favourite is The Ancient Magus Bride

She is the eldest of 11 children, and has four brothers and six sisters.

Her dream is to meet with all of her friends online from around the world who supported her work throughout the years

Her favourite meal is pizza and stuffed vine leaves

She ams to improve her English and learn Japanese, which many animated programmes originate in

Apple Mac through the years

1984 - Apple unveiled the Macintosh on January 24
1985 - Steve Jobs departed from Apple and established NeXT
1986 - Apple introduced the Macintosh Plus, featuring enhanced memory
1987 - Apple launched the Macintosh II, equipped with colour capabilities
1989 - The widely acclaimed Macintosh SE/30 made its debut
1994 - Apple presented the Power Macintosh
1996 - The Macintosh System Software OS underwent a rebranding as Mac OS
2001 - Apple introduced Mac OS X, marrying Unix stability with a user-friendly interface
2006 - Apple adopted Intel processors in MacBook Pro laptops
2008 - Apple introduced the MacBook Air, a lightweight laptop
2012 - Apple launched the MacBook Pro with a retina display
2016 - The Mac operating system underwent rebranding as macOS
2020 - Apple introduced the M1 chip for Macs, combining high performance and energy efficiency
2022 - The M2 chip was announced
2023 -The M3 line-up of chip was announced to improve performance and add new capabilities for Mac.

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylturbo

Transmission: seven-speed DSG automatic

Power: 242bhp

Torque: 370Nm

Price: Dh136,814

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

'Midnights'

Artist: Taylor Swift

Label: Republic Records

Rating: 4/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

How to avoid getting scammed
  • Never click on links provided via app or SMS, even if they seem to come from authorised senders at first glance
  • Always double-check the authenticity of websites
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all your working and personal services
  • Only use official links published by the respective entity
  • Double-check the web addresses to reduce exposure to fake sites created with domain names containing spelling errors
'Cheb Khaled'

Artist: Khaled
Label: Believe
Rating: 4/5

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Mubalada World Tennis Championship 2018 schedule

Thursday December 27

Men's quarter-finals

Kevin Anderson v Hyeon Chung 4pm

Dominic Thiem v Karen Khachanov 6pm

Women's exhibition

Serena Williams v Venus Williams 8pm

Friday December 28

5th place play-off 3pm

Men's semi-finals

Rafael Nadal v Anderson/Chung 5pm

Novak Djokovic v Thiem/Khachanov 7pm

Saturday December 29

3rd place play-off 5pm

Men's final 7pm

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).


Latest
Most Read
Top Videos