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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Qatar pledges $15 billion of investment in Turkey

The Qatar move comes amid an increasing diplomatic stand-off with the US

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. AP
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. AP

Qatar pledged on Wednesday US$15 billion (Dh55.1bn) of direct investment into Turkey, amid a diplomatic spat between Ankara and Washington that has triggered a Turkish currency crisis.

"Qatar has pledged $15 billion of direct investments in Turkey," Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin wrote on Twitter. “Turkish-Qatari relations are based on solid foundations of true friendship and solidarity.”

The investment package was announced after Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Wednesday.

The Turkish lira briefly firmed at 5.86 from 6.04 to the dollar, but later fell to 6.02. The currency has lost nearly 40 per cent against the dollar this year, impacted by Mr Erdogan's growing influence on the economy and his repeated calls for lower interest rates despite high inflation.

According to Turkish officials, Mr Erdogan and Sheikh Tamim expressed their determination to develop ties between their countries "in all areas".

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Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, who is Erdogan's son-in-law, and his Qatari counterpart Ali Sharif Al-Emadi, were also present at the talks in the Turkish capital.

The dispute between Turkey and the US was sparked by a row over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was jailed almost two years ago in the crackdown that followed a failed military coup.

US President Donald Trump widened the diplomatic rift with a tweet that announced an increase of tariffs on steel and aluminium, and that said "our relations with Turkey are not good at this time".

Mr Erdogan responded on Tuesday by announcing that his country will boycott US-made electronic goods such as iPhones and will buy Korean Samsung or Turkish-made Vestel instead.

The Turkish president said: "If they have the iPhone, there is Samsung elsewhere. We have Vestel."

The White House on Wednesday condemned Turkey’s move, calling the action “a step in the wrong direction.”

“The tariffs from Turkey are certainly regrettable and a step in the wrong direction. The tariffs that the United States placed on Turkey were out of national security interest. Theirs are out of retaliation,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.

“The tariffs that are in place on steel will not be removed with the release of Pastor Brunson. The tariffs are specific to national security,” she said.

“The sanctions, however, that have been placed on Turkey are specific to Pastor Brunson and others that we feel are being held unfairly, and we would consider that at that point.”

The worsening dispute comes just one month after the Nato summit where the two of the alliances biggest powers came together in a show of unity.

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