Expert: The Gulf countries view Turkey as a soft and hard power

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Dania Zafer, Executive Director of the Gulf International Forum, based in the United States, said that the Gulf states view Turkey “as a soft power and a hard power as well.”

This came on the sidelines of her participation in the forum of the English-speaking Turkish channel TRT World, which was recently held in Istanbul.

The forum was held on December 8 and lasted for two days under the slogan: “Prospering together: responsibilities, actions and solutions.”

Zafer said that there has been a shift in relations between Turkey and the Gulf states in recent years, and in this context, she indicated a rapprochement in Turkey’s relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

She confirmed that actors began to follow more “pragmatic” policies, and said: “After the Arab Spring, we are entering a new era in which everyone consolidates their gains and minimizes their losses.”

She noted that Turkey’s relations with the Gulf region will advance “very positively,” and that Turkey enjoys strong investment relations with the region.

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Zafer pointed to the Turkish influence in the region, and said: “The Gulf countries view Turkey as a soft power and a hard power as well.”

Referring to the “strong relations” between Turkey and Qatar, Zafer said: “Turkey has a very close historical and current alliance with Qatar.”

The Executive Director of the Gulf International Forum added: “Qatar considers Turkey its most important security partner.”

Zafer believed that the United States “reduced its role in the region,” and said that “the Gulf states see Turkey as a potential partner for security in the region.”

She pointed out that there was a positive atmosphere in the Middle East regarding “reducing tensions and integration” until recently.

She added: “But the superficiality of dealing is one of the most important problems, especially when it comes to dealing with the major conflicts in the region.”

She pointed out that the Gaza war broke out “as a result of the failure to address some of the root causes of conflicts in the region.”