Turkey’s Erdogan hails Qatar emir as ‘friend in times of trouble’

Date of publication: 28 November, 2018

Turkey’s president hailed close ally Qatar as a “friend in times of trouble” as he met with the country’s emir in Istanbul for economic talks on Monday.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan thanked Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for supporting Ankara during a row with the US this summer that badly hurt the Turkish lira.

“[Qatar] has stood with us in front of the speculative initiatives targeting our economy in the recent months,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by state-run agency Anadolu.

“Turkish nation showed intense efforts to break the blockade and sanctions targeting its Qatari brothers,” he said, referring to a Saudi-led boycott of Doha.

The leaders met for a meeting of the Turkey-Qatar High Strategic Committee and signed transportation, culture, trade and economic deals.

In August, Sheikh Tamim pledged to invest $15 billion in Turkey to invigorate Ankara’s ailing economy.

The Turkish lira fell dramatically over the summer against a backdrop as tensions between Ankara and Washington.

Turkey has also been a key backer of Qatar since the gas-rich emirate was blockaded by a Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries in June last year.

Erdogan strongly denounced the sanctions against Doha at the time and sent cargo ships laden with food when Saudi Arabia closed Qatar’s only land borders and other Gulf states ended flights and shipping routes to the country.

Turkey maintains a military base in Qatar with reinforcements sent to the Gulf state, as rumours circulated on a planned invasion by Saudi Arabia.

Doha has $20 billion worth of investments in Turkey and Ankara is now one of the top exporters to the emirate. The countries share common political visions for the region.( The New Arab )