Turkey's President Erdogan meets Qatar's Emir

Gulf crisis and economic cooperation top agenda of meeting between Erdogan and Sheikh Tamim in Doha.

    Turkey's President Erdogan meets Qatar's Emir
    This is Erdogan's second visit to the Qatar since the start of the Gulf crisis [Reuters]

    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has held talks with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha.

    During his visit, Erdogan discussed regional developments and bilateral ties with Sheikh Tamim, a month after a meeting between the two leaders in the Turkish capital, Ankara.

    This is the Turkish leader's second visit to the Gulf country since the start of a major diplomatic crisis in the region more than five months ago.

    Erdogan arrived in the Qatari capital on Tuesday to attend the third meeting of Turkey-Qatar Supreme Strategic Committee to be held on Wednesday.

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    Accompanied by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, his wife and Chief of General Staff General Hulusi Akar among other delegates, Erdogan was welcomed at the Hamad International Airport by Qatar's Defence Minister Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah, Turkey’s Ambassador to Doha Fikret Ozer and other officials.

    Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt cut ties and blockaded Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting "terrorism" and fostering ties with their rival Iran. Qatar denies the accusations.

    Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from outside the Emir's palace in Doha, said the Gulf dispute will top the agenda of the meeting between Erdogan and Sheikh Tamim. 

    "Turkey since the start of the crisis expressed a desire to help all the parties to set aside their differences," he said. "At the peak of the crisis, it sided with Qatar, sent troops to the country and also established a military base – a move that has angered Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.

    "This is something, I think, the Turkish government is willing to further explore to be able to mend fences with all neighbouring countries."

    Strategic ties

    Qatar's Emir said on Tuesday that the Saudi-led bloc has shunned dialogue and has no desire to end the dispute.

    With no solution in sight, Al Jazeera's senior political analyst Marwan Bishara said both Qatar and Turkey are taking their bilateral relations to "a whole new strategic level".

    "It's clear now that Qatar needs solid relations with the outside world, notably Turkey," he said. "And it's also clear for the Turks, because of the cooling of the relations with a number of countries, especially Western countries, that they need to forge big, important relations in the East, and I think, Qatar is becoming one of them," he said.

    Erdogan, who also visited Qatar in July as part of a regional Gulf tour in a bid to defuse the crisis, has strongly spoken out against the measures applied by the Saudi-led group of countries.

    In a show of solidarity, Turkey has also sent cargo ships and hundreds of planes loaded with food to help Qatar offset the blockade.

    Ankara has a military base in Qatar and deployed more troops in the wake of the crisis.

    The closure of the Turkish base was one of 13 demands by the Saudi-led group of countries in order to lift their embargo on Qatar.

    Erdogan also visited Kuwait on Monday, where he met the Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. 

    Kuwait has been leading mediation efforts since the start of the diplomatic rift. 

    Besides politics, Al Jazeera's Ahelbarra said economic cooperation between Qatar and Turkey is also an important issue.

    "The Qatari investors are hoping to now use Turkey as a new hub where they would like to look into new investment opportunities."

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    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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