'Gulf states use investments as foreign policy tools'

By Zehra Nur Duz

ANKARA (AA) – Gulf countries use international investments as tools to advance their foreign policy goals, according to a report by a Turkish think tank.

“Gulf countries with varied investment instruments and economic incomes have been using foreign investments effectively for a long time,” the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (ORSAM) in the capital Ankara said in its report, “Investments as Foreign Policy Instruments: The Cases of Saudi Arabia, The UAE and Qatar.”

In the report, Ismail Numan Telci, the think tank’s vice president and Gulf studies coordinator, and Gokhan Ereli, a research assistant, discuss the motivations of Gulf actors for making overseas investments.

In some cases they try to influence the foreign policy decisions of Western countries, but in others, through these investments they aim to counter the growing foreign activism of other Gulf countries, according to the report.

Another motive that pushes Gulf countries to invest globally is to block a rival regional or international actor from enlarging its domain in various contentious sectors, including port management, airlines, sports, and energy, it said.

“Finally, foreign investments also constitute the project of diversifying the economic resources of the Gulf countries,” according to the report.

The report underlined that the economies of Gulf countries are based on petrochemical products as well as oil and natural gas revenues.

As hydrocarbon energy faces the risk of losing its primary position in the sector in the long run, investors tend towards long-term investment strategies, it added.