Turkish firms are excited about the 2022 FIFA World Cup set to be held in the Gulf state of Qatar and the big business from the tournament, Turkey’s customs and trade minister said on Thursday.
"Qatar’s prime minister said Turkish firms will be given priority, especially in bids. We want Turkish firms to be very interested in their projects," Bulent Tufenkci said after visiting the Expo Turkey by Qatar in the capital Doha, along with Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) head Rifat Hisarciklioglu.
Tufenkci said Qatari and Turkish businesspeople had business meetings and business contacts with each other during the Turkey-Qatar Business Forum and expo.
Qatari investors are very interested in Turkey in such areas as finance, tourism, health, education, and real estate, he added.
"Turkey is a country of opportunities. We want our Qatari brothers to take advantage of them.
“Our [bilateral] trade volume in 2017 reached almost $900 million, and it will go higher in 2018. I think we will achieve the $5 billion goal set by our President Recep Tayyip Erdogan," he said.
'Time for business with Qatar'
Hisarciklioglu said that now is the time to do business with Qatar, since the 50 million people who live in Gulf countries make up a very important market for Turkey.
"It's time to do business with Qatar. Today there is a market where we can sell all kinds of consumer goods. Interest in Turkey is very intense and there's a marvelous opportunity. As a country, we have to make use of it economically as well," he said.
Hisarciklioglu added that Qatari companies' investments in Turkey rose over the last five years.
"Official figures say the investment totals almost $1.3 billion. Qatari firms are making investments in all sectors, including the media. As part of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2030 vision, nearly $100 billion in investments will be made in Qatar, and we have to benefit," he added.
Hisarciklioglu also said that as part of his visit to Qatar, he met Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser al-Thani, who told of the incentives that will be given to Turkish firms doing business in Qatar.
Turkish-managed Qatari football club
Tufenkci and Hisarciklioglu also visited Bulent Uygun, the Turkish manager of Qatari football club Al-Gharafa, and club officials.
Tufenkci said he follows the Qatari league as well as Turkish leagues and he said he believes Al-Gharafa will do well and be a title contender.
Touting his role as sports ambassador in Qatar, Uygun said he was very happy to sign Dutch star Wesley Sneijder.
"We will train hard to vie for the title. The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held in Qatar. This is very important for Qatar as well as Muslims and Turkey,” he added.
Qatari official urges Turkish firms to invest
Qatar's Economy and Trade Minister Sheikh Ahmed Bin Jassim al-Thani also said that cooperation between the two countries would be developed further.
He said Qatar's door is always open to Turkish companies and that he is awaiting Turkish investment.
He added that they would make progress on a number of sectors.
"We’re giving incentives to Turkish companies and also considering adding new ones," he added.
Some 112 companies from a variety of sectors -- such as construction, furniture, machinery, logistics, information technology, food, and health tourism -- are attending Expo Turkey by Qatar, co-organized with Turkey’s Independent Industrialists and Businesspeople’s’ Association (MUSIAD).
In the first day of the event, more than 600 business-to-business meetings were held.
Turkish and Qatari firms signed business agreements worth of $60 million.
Reporting by Ugur Aslanhan and Mehtap Yilmaz:Writing by Can Erozden