On Thursday, August 6, 2020, Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution, IICR, organized a webinar titled “Turkey – Qatar Alliance and The Future of Middle East”. The webinar was part of IICR’s exclusive series Globe 2020.
The esteemed panelist included Prof. Dr. Hamit Ersoy, Faculty member Sabahattin University, Dr. Ibrahim Karatas, Columnist and academician and Dr. Alihan Limoncuoglu political scientist and an academician. The Session was moderated by Ms. Sabah Aslam, CEO, IICR.
While speaking to the panel Dr. Alihan added that the bond between two countries is embedded in history, when Turks advanced to the Middle Eastern grounds they were welcomed by the Qataris forging an alliance with the ottomans. Adding further he said that since AK party got into power there has been great shift in Qatar-Turkey alliance in shape of increased momentum, this is due to the fact that the prime focus of AK’s foreign policy was to establish friendly and strong ties in Middle East. He said that during the Qatar crisis apart from Iran, Turkey was standing tall with its Middle Eastern ally which meant a lot in international relations. Moreover this cooperation is also extending towards defense industry as well, he added. Commenting further on Middle Eastern politics Dr. Alihan said that Middle Eastern politics cannot be imagined without the interference of the bigger powers and some of these bigger powers were involved in drawing the borders of Middle East as colonizers and they will also be vital in bringing peace in Middle East.
The next on panel was Prof. Dr. Hamit. While sharing some historical facts he said that Al Thani family is ruling the land since the 1825 and Ottomans had cordial relations with Al-Thani family since then. Adding more he said that Turkey despite its alienation from Middle Eastern land always had tried to form working relations with the Middle Eastern states because it is vital as ever. Adding further he noted that the conceptual framework on which this alliance is based is military alliance as Qatar needed a strong military reliance in order to survive the bitter days. Moreover economic need is also fortifying this alliance between both the countries, he said. Concluding his part Dr. Hamit said that maintaining alliance is difficult than its formation particularly in this robustly changing geo-politics of the world.
The last panelist was Dr. Ibrahim. He said that the modern alliance between both the states was structured since president Erdogan came into power in 2002. Adding further he said that the alliance is a necessity rather than a desire. As Qatar is a small country in among the Middle Eastern giants and it needed to side with an outsider in order to protect itself and it reciprocated on side of Turkey as it needed a strong ally in the Middle Eastern land. Commenting further he said that after the failed coup attempt in turkey there came a swift and aggressive shift in Erdogan’s foreign policy, which can be seen in its intervention in Middle Eastern affairs. The like mindedness of both the countries is also a main factor in the alliance between Turkey and Qatar.
The webinar ended with the concluding remarks by Ms. Sabah Aslam, CEO IICR and question and answer session.