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Two of the growing economies in the world; Turkey and Qatar share deep historic and cultural connections. Especially in the recent years, the two nations’ agreements covering trade, defense and economic co-operation have built on their already close relations. Moreover since the Trade Ministry of Turkey points out the total amount of investments for 200 different projects planned in Qatar to be $200 billion, the close relationship between Qatar and Turkey is set to improve for the years to come. 

Turkey presents a stable economic Foreign Direct Investment (“FDI”) opportunity for the Qatar’s economy due to Turkey being in the customs union with the EU, the opportunity to acquire Turkish citizenship and the incentives that the Turkish Government offers to FDIs.

Recent issues in the Gulf Region aid to open new doors for Qatari investors looking to extend their trade beyond Qatar and in these times. In light of these developments  Turkey is set to become a stable trade partner with a strong economic structure and a welcoming legal framework towards foreign direct investments.

Increasing Trade Volume Between Countries

The facts show a stable increase in trade between Turkey and Qatar and the deepening of economic ties. In fact; the trade volume between Qatar and Turkey has developed from $710 Million in 2016 to $1.4 Billion in 2018. The strong ties between both countries have also shown itself in the number of tourists that visit Turkey amounting to a 97% increase in the number of tourists visiting Turkey to a total of 96.000 tourists in the year 2018.  

The recent contracting projects that was undertaken by Turkish Companies in Qatar include the Hamad Airport that was undertaken by Turkish TAV construction and Japanese Taisei Corporation, Al Khor Expressway; undertaken by the Turkish Company Tekfen and Al Thumama that is under construction for the 2022 World Cup and many others.

Similarly, a number of pioneer companies in respective sectors are owned by Qatari shareholders in Turkey. Most recently, Mayhoola Investment Group has acquired the majority stake in Turkish luxury department store Beymen, for a total of $405 Million. Moreover, some of the major companies in the Turkish Market including Digiturk(Bein), Finansbank(QNB) and A Bank(Commercial Bank)’s major stakeholder being Qatari investors.

FDI Incentives in Turkey

Turkey’s new investment law scheme provides altering benefits to FDIs from VAT and Customs Duty exemptions to social security premium support depending on the value and the location of the investments in various sectors including but not limited to the electronics, telecommunications, transportation, shipbuilding sectors and services such as health and education.

Moreover; establishment of a company in Turkey is both quick and effortless, once the required files are completed; a company would start to operate in less than 5 days.  Should the foreigners determined by the Ministry of Industry and Technology that have invested into a fixed capital at least in the amount of USD 500.000,00 or equivalent foreign currency or Turkish Lira would be a Turkish Citizen due to this investment.

In Turkey; a different way of acquiring Turkish Citizenship is acquiring real estate from Turkey. According to the legal regulations; the foreigners determined by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization that have purchased real estate or signed preliminary contract for sale before the notary for the purchasing a real estate at least in the amount of USD 250.000,00 or equivalent foreign currency or Turkish Lira provided that an annotation stating that it will not be sold for three years added to the title deed or to the preliminary contract for sale would be Turkish Citizen after this investment.

Another factor that boosts Turkey’s value for the Qatari investors is the customs benefits that Turkey presents for the investors. Currently, The EU and Turkey are linked by a Customs Union agreement, which came into force on 31 December 1995 and this customs union that Turkey shares with the EU makes the country an important doorway to the EU’s strong market.

All in all; adding all of the socio-economic factors and the openness of Turkish legislation to FDI, it would be confidently claimed that what Turkey offers for an FDI and the investor as a person is as good as possible if not the best option available.

Turkey Is A Strong Land of Opportunities For FDIs From Qatar

As known from the Qatari Economic Reports; more than %60 of Qatar’s Gross National Product consists of the revenue gathered from petroleum and national gas. For this reason; the Qatari economy is prone to be impacted by the fluctuations from oil and gas prices. Due to the low population and high amounts of petroleum and natural gas reserves; Qatar has one of the most prominent economic opportunities between the countries in the Gulf Region, however, just like any other country in the region Qatar needs to improve the variation of its economy to ensure long-term economic stability.

On 2017; due to the economic boycott imposed by the GCC countries, Qatar economy has been impacted due to the lack of food and convenience goods, in order to avoid effects of the political issues to the economy, the independence of the economy should be ensured through FDIs in non-neighbor countries.

Despite Turkey’s recent economic headwinds, the World Bank predicts continued economic growth through 2019 and notes that “Turkey’s economic and social development performance since 2000 has been impressive. Macroeconomic and fiscal stability were at the heart of its performance”. International investors – including Qatari investors – now see real value in Turkey and are flocking to acquire Turkish companies. Mergers and acquisition activity in Turkey exceeded US$13 billion last year.

Turkey is strategically positioned for easy market access to Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. It also has a youthful and increasingly prosperous domestic market of 80 million people. Labor costs remain competitive and the government has incentives for investment in industries such as electronics, transportation, telecommunications, shipbuilding and services such as health and education.

Combining the aforementioned qualities of both economies; Qatar’s growing economy and Turkey’s FDI friendly legislation, Turkey represents an important port for foreign investment for Qatari investors where they can further expand their investment portfolio. Investing in Turkey presents an exceptional chance for the Qatari investors due to the countries increasing demand for FDI and the growing sectors including real estate, retail, energy, textile, automotive, technology and many more. Therefore; the needs of Qatar in differentiating the source of income is likely to be fully fulfilled in Turkey due to the variation in the field and the potential for growth.

Therefore; for an investor aiming to make an FDI Turkey is one of the premier spots in the world due to its demographics, worldly renowned economy and the differentiation of sector.

Turkey and Qatar Economies Are Set to Grow Together in The Coming Years

According to a news report published in a Qatari Newspaper; based on the numbers the newspaper has taken from the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey, Qatari FDI has risen to number one in the rankings in the first half of the year 2019 in the FDI received by Turkey. To further explain the numbers; Qatari investors compose 19.4% of the total FDI received by Turkey amounting to $601 Million and the FDI received from Gulf Region is $681Million. Therefore, the FDI of Qatar to Turkey is 90% of the investment received from the Gulf Region, showing the importance Qatar and Turkey have for each other.

Turkey is in a customs union with the EU, making it an ideal base for Qatari businesses seeking access the EU’s 500-million strong market. Reciprocally, Qatar provides an ideal base for Turkish investors in the Gulf region through its rapidly growing economy. It is clear that Turkish-Qatar trade and investment are set to grow rapidly and the trade volume is expected to reach $5 billion in bilateral trade in the next 3 years. Therefore; a two-way FDI traffic between the countries is quite likely to provide improvement to both of the countries with combined created monetary values, know-how and developed sectors supporting each other in both of the countries.

In light of above, as a country subject to FDIs; what Turkey brings to the table for the investor is unique especially if the socio-economic location of Turkey, the incentives the country provides to FDIs and opportunity of being a Turkish citizen is taken into account. Moreover; from the direction where the trade and investment opportunities are headed; it could be seen that the close relationship between Turkey and Qatar will provide immense benefits to the investors that are willing to act quickly to the both countries as a whole and the investors as individuals.

Levent Lezgin Kılınç, Founding Partner

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