So now it’s Qatar to the rescue.
According to Turkish officials, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has agreed to $15 billion in direct investments for Turkey in order to help Ankara weather the storm amid the collapse in the lira and questions about whether the country is set to careen into an outright economic collapse.
This isn’t surprising for a number of reasons. Turkey supported Qatar last year when a Saudi-led alliance sought to isolate Doha both economically and diplomatically on the rather hypocritical excuse that Qatar sponsors terrorism.
That was perhaps the most glaring example of the pot calling the kettle a Sunni extremist in the history of Mideast politics, but it served a purpose, namely to send a message about the consequences for Doha of pursuing an independent foreign policy when it comes to Iran (read more: “Explaining The $1 Billion Hostage Deal FT Says Triggered Monday’s Qatar Drama“).
Additionally, Qatar has skin in the game here. As noted on Sunday, Gulf banks are exposed to Turkey’s financial sector. Perhaps most notably, Qatar National Bank (that would be the the region’s largest bank by market value and total assets) had its worst day since the Saudi-led embargo on Sunday, diving nearly 5% on the session.
The problem there would appear to be the bank’s stake in QNB Finansbank, the Turkish lender that fell more than 4% last Friday amid the lira’s collapse. According to reports, QNB Finansbank accounts for 14% of Qatar National Bank’s group net profit.
In any event, the Qatar news is giving the lira a further boost on a day when BDDK again moved to limit swaps transactions in an effort to shore up the currency.
One interesting question now will be how the Trump administration responds to Doha moving in to assist Turkey as Washington tries to turn the screws on Erdogan.
I suppose it’s at least possible that Trump could see this is a hostile action on the part of Qatar and use that as an excuse to ask Riyadh to reignite hostilities with Doha.
Emir of Qatar stated in today's meeting with President Erdoğan that Qatar will directly invest (around 15 billion dolar) in Turkey. A clear sign of strategic alliance between Turkey and Qatar. pic.twitter.com/DzdtaWOjUH
— YusufYerkel (@YusufYerkel) August 15, 2018
Qatar offers Turkey an investment package worth $15 billion to support the Turkish economy, during the visit of HH The Emir. It includes both new investments & deposits.
— لولوة راشد الخاطر (@Lolwah_Alkhater) August 15, 2018