Turkey’s Erdogan to visit Qatar on World Cup kick off date

Thousands of Turkish security personnel are helping maintain the security of the major event.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to visit Qatar on 20 November, the same day as the 2022 FIFA World Cup’s kick off date, the leader announced on Monday.

Erodgan’s announcement came after a Cabinet meeting in Ankara, where he also said he would head to Bahrain before his visit to Qatar, per a report by Anadolu Agency.

While the agenda of his visit to Doha has not been announced, it comes weeks after Erdogan told FIFA President Gianni Infantino that he is attending the World Cup. 

The interaction between the Turkish president and Infantino took place in September on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. 

At the time, a viral video spread across social media showing Infantino handing Erdogan an official World Cup ball with the Turkish president’s name written on it.

Erdogan then headed the “unique” ball in front of the Turkish delegation.

Turkey failed to qualify for the World Cup following a 3-1 defeat against Portugal in March this year.

However, Ankara is playing a large role in securing the major sporting event, with at least 3,000 Turkish riot police dispatched to Qatar. 

Turkey announced in July plans to send chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence (CBRN) personnel during the event. The Turkish Armed Forces have been carrying out CBRN duties since 1930.

The defence cooperation between Qatar and Turkey comes alongside numerous other partnerships between the Gulf state and its international partners for the World Cup.

At least 1.5 million spectators are expected to flock to Doha for the showpiece event – the first of its kind for the Middle East region.

Qatar-Turkey ties

The Turkish president is also likely meet with Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The two last met in Istanbul in October for the Qatar-Turkey Strategic Dialogue. 

The annual high-profile meeting addresses steps to deepen and advance bilateral cooperation, which have witnessed constant growth over recent years.

Between 2020 and 2021 alone, trade volume saw a 6% increase, reaching $1.6 billion. By December last year, Qatar’s total investments in Turkey reached $22 billion.

The Spokesperson for Qatar’s Foreign Ministry Dr. Majed Al-Ansari told Qatar’s state news agency (QNA) in October that there are 711 Turkish companies operating in the Gulf state.

There are also 644 companies with Qatar-Turkish capital in the private sector, with Doha representing one of the largest investors in Ankara.

On a political level, Qatar and Turkey cooperated with the interim Afghan government to ensure Afghanistan’s airports return to operations following the Taliban takeover of Kabul last year.

Qatar and Turkey had also cooperated to help release seven Turkish civilians who were held by Libyan General Khalifa Haftar’s forces.

Ankara was also quick to stand by Doha at the height of the 2017 GCC crisis, which saw Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt impose an illegal air, land and sea blockade on Doha.

During the region’s worst diplomatic dispute, Turkey sent some of its military personnel to Qatar, and Turkish products filled supermarket shelves in the Gulf state.

The feud was resolved in 2021 under the Al-Ula Declaration, which saw the lifting of the illegal embargo and the resumption of ties between the Arab states.

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