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Turkey/GCC economic relations 18 décembre 2014

Posted by Acturca in Economy / Economie, Middle East / Moyen Orient, Turkey / Turquie.
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Notes franco-turques (IFRI) n° 12, December 2014

Dorothée Schmid & Jules Subervie

Over the last decade, Turkey has decisively worked on reviving and improving relations with its Arab partners. The links, somewhat neglected before the arrival of the AKP ( Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, Justice and Development Party) in power, have gained relevance both from a diplomatic and an economic point of view. Turkey indeed now seems to consider again the Middle East as an area of natural influen ce, pursuing what some analysts have labelled a neo-Ottoman vision. The main difference with the Ottoman past imperialistic designs may be that modern Turkey asserts its presence more through a rational usage of soft power more than aggressive conquest. It is notably becoming aware of the economic potential of the region, both in terms of trade and to attract capital inflows sustaining its own thriving growth.

Although not immediate neighbours to the Republic of Turkey, GCC countries were included into the « zero problems with neighbours » perimeter designed by the current Turkish Prime minister, ex-Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu. Relations with the GCC were from the outset considered as strategically important essentially because of their economic potenti al. Thus, the development of Turkey’s economic links with Gulf monarchies was both a motivation and a driving force for the rapprochement. Multilateral as well as bilateral meetings have multiplied over the last years, allowing a rapid development of trade as well as political consultations about several regional issues. Diplomatic initiatives and economic expansion have been considered complementary and business circles have joined the momentum, under the guidance of the Turkish state.

The FTA talks being currently suspended in a context of growing strain, there is an obvious need to assess the real nature and intensity of the economic interdependence between Turkey and the GCC. This paper will thus examine the drivers of the relationship and evaluate the ir actual strength, especially as seen from the Turkish side-some sectors still appearing as very promising for future cooperation, assuming that some perturbing diplomatic variables could be neutralized in the medium-long term.

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