The Evolution of Turkey—Qatar Relations Amid a Growing Gulf Divide
In this chapter Bakir examines how bilateral relations between Qatar and Turkey evolved over time within Turkey’s broader Middle Eastern and Gulf strategy in parallel to Ankara’s great shift from a more ideal foreign policy that depends on vast soft power to a more realistic one equipped with hard power. The Arab uprisings paved the way for the two countries to achieve a high level of alignment over interests, values, and ideology. However, the rise of common challenges, unconventional threats, and the change in the security environment amid the attempts to reformulate the region in the post-Arab-uprisings era upgraded their bilateral relations in an unprecedented way. As Turkey regained self-confidence in Erdogan’s period, Ankara has been taking a more assertive stance across the Middle East, including the Gulf. By demonstrating that it has the will and the capability to utilize its hard power, Ankara’s decision to deploy its military forces in Qatar played a major role in depriving the Saudi-led bloc from militarily escalating the crisis. In this sense, this chapter highlights Turkey’s motives, implications, and what it has to gain from getting involved in the divided Gulf.