There is not a peep from Turkey’s opposition regarding us coughing up billions of dollars to buy M-46s, M-47s from the U.S., and Leopard tanks from Germany. Yet, they are perturbed and cause a kerfuffle when Qatari capital assumes a role in the production of our own tank.
There is a strange “chauvinism” discourse circulating. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Meral Akşener, in other words, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Good Party (IP), have been competing in this regard. They are telling one lie after another, committing one act of fraud after another.
It seems as though they have their hopes pinned on perceptions overshadowing facts, and lies overshadowing truths to achieve their political objectives.
Anti-Qatar sentiment, capital racism
We experienced an example of this last week.
The biggest smear campaign of recent years was launched by the CHP administration in the name of confusing and demoralizing millions of students who would be sweating as they sat the university entrance exams in Turkey, along with their anxious families. Fake news that Qatari youth are being accepted into colleges without sitting exams – despite the source apologizing and removing the news in question – was eagerly prolonged as part of this campaign.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was at the tank-pallet factory in Arifiye, Sakarya, yesterday. It was, without a doubt, an interesting visit in terms of his timing. It would not be wrong to consider this visit as “silencing the whispers,” to boost the morale and motivation of the factory workers, and to give messages of determination against the opposition.
Let us share some of the messages Erdoğan sent during this visit in Arifiye:
- God willing, we are going to deliver the Altay tank to the military in early 2023.
- We are not foreign to the factory. We were here nine years ago for the welding of our 244th Fırtına howitzer’s body with you. As many as 280 Fırtına howitzers were produced until 2016, and put at the disposal of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF).
- Our factory belongs to the Treasury, and it is at the disposal of the National Defense Ministry. Its title belongs to the state, and so it shall remain.
- The company running the factory is a Turkish company. All of our employees’ rights are protected. Production is continuing in accordance with the TAF’s needs, and under troops’ control. Every right to control belongs to the National Defense Ministry. Qatar is a financial partner with 49 percent of the shares. A total of 51 percent of the shares belongs to Turkish partners.
These statements by Erdoğan are, in fact, a repetition of well-known truths against the lie that the tank-pallet factory was “served up on a silver platter to the Qataris.”
When the tank-pallet factory started operations in 1973, some newspapers of the day published headlines such as, “Erbakan hodja invested money in the Arifiye quagmire.” As can be seen, we have a mentality that repeats itself.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had said, “Serving the tank-pallet factory up to Qatar on a platter is betraying Turkey.” Recently, based on the Arifiye factory, one CHP deputy said, “The state’s army has been sold off to Qatar,” insulting the TAF. Upon this, an investigation was launched by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on the charge of “openly insulting the government of the Republic of Turkey, and the state’s military organization.”
Qatari capital ranks 17th in terms of investments in Turkey
Let us share some data proving that the accusation that the country’s sources are being served on a silver platter to the Qataris is false:
A total of 165 billion dollars direct foreign capital entered Turkey between 2003 and 2020. About one-third of these investments came from companies in The Netherlands, the U.S., and the U.K.
While the top 10 countries that provided direct foreign capital include Luxembourg, Spain, Belgium, France, and Azerbaijan, Qatar only ranked 17th with its investments totaling 2.7 billion dollars.
If only these investments increased, if only the number of countries and the investments they make in Turkey with friendly sentiments – like Qatar – were greater, rather than countries that are focused solely on their own interests.
Why are we saying this?
Whenever a security issue arises with respect to the economy, the capital flowing in from the West leaves as quickly as it comes. Qatari capital, on the other hand, continues to support Turkey’s economy during tough times.
The reason underlying this is the positive sentiment for Turkey and specifically for the Erdoğan administration in Turkey. Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani had explained the reason behind this positive sentiment to French President Emmanuel Macron during their telephone call.
He said, “Turkey and Erdoğan were the only ones supporting me during my toughest time. I will never stop standing by his side. This will not change until the day I die.”
This approach adopted by Qatar’s emir might just be the reason why Kılıçdaroğlu despises Qatar so much.