Turkish President Erdogan's Gulf Tour: Strengthening Economic Ties and Attracting Investment

جولة أردوغان الخليجية 2023

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to the Gulf countries after his re-election for the third time comes with different timing, destination, and goals.

After years of tension due to various political circumstances, the time has come to open a new page in Turkish-Gulf relations, the first steps of which began last year, and it is expected to know its peak in the coming years.


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to the Gulf region included Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

These countries are at the forefront of the Capitals with which Ankara seeks to consolidate economic and political relations after a temporary break that various parties want to keep within the scope of the past.

Turkish-Saudi relations: The mighty return!

The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 did not pass with a cold wind in the two countries. Still, relations deteriorated significantly, which led to severing relations on several levels, especially investment and economics.


But after turning the page of the past, a new return to the course of relations between the two countries began through a visit that was called historical and culminated in the signing of more than 16 cooperation agreements in various fields, including investment exchange in the defense, construction, and infrastructure sectors.

During the visit, it was also agreed to raise the volume of trade exchange from 6.5 billion dollars in 2022 to 10 billion dollars in the short term and 30 billion dollars in the long term.

What about the future of Saudi ownership in Turkey

Market figures over the past years translate a noticeable decline in the ownership of Saudis in Turkey. Still, soon this decline began to shrink with the gradual return of relations between Ankara and Riyadh, both through the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Turkey in June 2022 and also the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Jeddah in just weeks after he was re-elected president for a third term.


Returning to the figures of the Turkish Statistical Institute, we find that the purchase of real estate by Saudi citizens during the years (2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018) remained at the forefront among the five most popular countries for real estate in Turkey, but declined during 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 to the top twenty ranks ranging from 15th to 16th place.


However, in 2023, there was a strong return to the demand of Saudis for ownership in Turkey, where statistics recorded the progress of Saudi ownership to the 11 foreign with sales of 346 properties during the first six months, although the percentage of sales declined in general in the country due to the major earthquake that hit the center and south of Turkey, as well as the presidential elections that took place in two stages Foreign investment in the country during that period.


The percentage of Saudis buying real estate in Turkey during the first six months of 2023 increased by 80% compared to last year.


It is expected that real estate sales by Saudis in Turkey will increase, especially after the expected great economic openness between the two countries and the expected huge investment deals between Ankara and Riyadh.

What are the reasons for owning Saudis in Turkey?

We have witnessed the Saudis ' keenness to own property in Turkey since the early years to lift the reciprocity policy in real estate purchases in 2012, where they were the first to do so.


One of the most important reasons for the demand of Saudis for real estate in Turkey:

  • Their fascination with the picturesque nature of Turkey, especially its green areas such as Bursa, Trabzon, Mersin, Bolu and Mugla.  
  • The prices of real estate in Turkey are compared to those in Paris and London, the previously favorite cities for Saudis to own. 
  • The purpose is to take advantage of the advantages associated with ownership, such as real estate residency, Turkish citizenship, and administrative and legal facilities.  
  • This strength of real estate investment in Turkey and its value is rising yearly.  

Turkish-Emirati relations: A leap above expectations

Over the past two years, Turkey has become one of the most important economic partners of the United Arab Emirates, with the value of non-oil intra-trade amounting to USD 18.9 billion, making Turkey one of the top 10 international trade partners of Turkey with a share of 3% of Abu Dhabi's non-oil foreign trade.


The volume of trade exchange between the two countries outside oil is expected to reach 40 billion dollars within the next five years.


But the recent visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came above expectations, as it concluded the signing of cooperation agreements in 13 areas worth 50.7 billion US dollars, a qualitative leap in relations between Ankara and Abu Dhabi, which officially elevated to strategic relations.


The real estate sector came at the top of the sectors that culminated in high-level cooperation agreements, where it is expected to continue to benefit from the Turkish experience in the construction and construction field, as well as Turkey's reception of huge Emirati real estate projects on its territory.


On the other hand, Ankara is betting on the number of foreigners in the UAE to buy real estate in Turkey, especially since the turnout of citizens and residents in the UAE has not fallen out of the top 20 ranks of owners in Anatolia during the last decade.

Turkish-Qatari relations: Solid friendship continues!

Turkey and Qatar have always been strategic allies in the region with strong and continuous relations despite the crises and political differences that have passed through the Middle East region.


Turkey has been an ally of Qatar for 50 years of diplomatic relations, especially during the economic blockade that Qatar overcame in 2017 with Turkish support and the Qatari position supporting Turkey during the failed coup attempt in 2016.


The strong economic ties that unite the two countries increase the importance of Turkish-Qatari relations. Turkey played a leading role in Qatar's Organization of the World Cup in 2022 with its list of top experts in the real estate and hotel services sectors.


Turkey's direct investments in Qatar increased to 33.2 billion dollars, while the value of real estate projects implemented by Turkish construction companies as infrastructure in Qatar reached 22 billion US dollars.


Turkey's contribution to the field of construction in Qatar is considered great and important in the development of the economy of the two countries and a strategic sector on which the two countries rely.


The demand of Qataris for tourism and real estate in Turkey, in turn, is remarkable, as more than 150 thousand Qataris visit Turkey annually, and 200 to 700 Qatari citizens own property in Turkey yearly.


Finally, according to experts, the recent trip of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Gulf countries promises a lot of economic prospects in the fields of Trade, Tourism of all kinds, real estate, health, industry, and defense.


We are expected to see the fruits of this economic investment convergence on the reality of peoples and governments.