November 12, 2019 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1482

5. The Turkey-Qatar High Strategic Committee

November 12, 2019
Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1482

On December 19, 2014, alongside the signing of a defense agreement, Qatar and Turkey also established the Turkey-Qatar High Strategic Committee, headed by the Qatari emir and Turkish president.[52] Since then the committee has convened four times – in December 2015,[53] December 2016,[54] November 2017[55] and November 2018,[56] sometimes in Qatar and sometimes in Turkey – to sign framework agreements and memorandums of understanding in different spheres, including the military sphere, with the aim of deepening the collaboration and strengthening the ties between the countries.

The agreement on founding the committee stated, inter alia, that its purpose is "to affirm Qatar's and Turkey's commitment to the continued strengthening of their robust relations in all areas, based on the strong historic and cultural relations that unite them, and with the aim of boosting the solidarity and cooperation between them in a way that will serve their joint interests, and [with the aim of] taking part in supporting peace and stability in the regions of both [countries] and outside these [regions]." The agreement added that "both sides have agreed on cooperation in the following areas:

  1. Political and diplomatic areas.

  2. The areas of economy and trade, banking and financial services, investments, transportation, and marine, tourism, health and labor affairs.

  3. The areas of security, defense, and the military industry.

  4. The areas of culture, education, sciences, and technology.

  5. The areas of energy, agriculture, environment, forestry, and meteorology.

  6. The areas of communications and statistics.

  7. The areas of consular affairs.

  8. Any other area on which the sides will agree."

It was also agreed that both countries' foreign ministers are authorized to do all that is necessary to implement the cooperation in all the areas mentioned above, by preparing proposals for agreements and memoranda of understanding that require coordination with the relevant ministers in each of the two countries, and afterwards by taking the required domestic steps for approving and implementing them."[57]

Turkish Ambassador to Qatar Fikret Ozer praised the committee in a recent interview with the Qatari Al-Sharq daily, saying, "During its four last sessions, the committee helped bring the bilateral relations between Qatar and Turkey to the comprehensive level of strategic cooperation."[58] Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the Al-Sharq daily that the committee "constitutes an excellent tool for strengthening and diversifying our bilateral relations." He added that, "at the four high committee meetings held since 2015, we signed 45 agreements in many areas – five of them were signed [at the fourth meeting] last month – to strengthen cooperation in the military, culture, tourism and other fields."[59]

Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Aal Thani (left), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (center) and Erdogan's son-in-law, Finance Minister Berat Albayrak (Source:, September 15, 2017)

At the fourth meeting of the High Strategic Committee, held in Istanbul on November 26, 2018 and attended by the Turkish president and Qatari emir, the two countries signed, inter alia, memorandums of understanding on cooperation in the cyber field and the exchange of military delegations, alongside agreements on culture, economy, and trade.[60] In his address at the meeting, the Turkish president called the Qatari emir "a friend in need," and stressed that Qatar had stood by Turkey when there were attempts (by the U.S.) to undermine its economy.[61] Following the meeting the Qatari emir tweeted, "We're proud of the successes of the Qatar-Turkey partnership, which have accumulated since its establishment in 2014. With the signing of new agreements, further horizons for collaboration and fraternity between the countries are opening up... "[62]

The Qatari emir's tweet

The committee's fifth meeting is to be held in Doha in late November 2019, with the participation of the Turkish and Qatari heads of state. A preparatory meeting of the committee took place on November 3, 2019, at the level of foreign ministers.[63] Turkish Ambassador to Qatar Fikret Ozer said that during the fifth meeting the two countries are expected to sign more than ten new agreements, and noted that a Turkish delegation had arrived in Doha on October 24 for this purpose.[64] Qatari Prime Minister and Interior Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Aal Thani arrived in Turkey on October 31, 2019 and met with Erdogan, with his deputy, and with the Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu in order to prepare the agreements.[65]

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