Erdogan hosts Qatar emir amid new Gulf tensions

Erdogan hosts Qatar emir amid new Gulf tensions
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, shakes hands with Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, left, prior to their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey. (AP)
Updated 15 January 2018

Erdogan hosts Qatar emir amid new Gulf tensions

Erdogan hosts Qatar emir amid new Gulf tensions

ANKARA: Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani held talks in Turkey on Monday with his chief ally President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as tensions again surged between the emirate and its regional foes.
The talks, announced only hours in advance, got under way at Erdogan’s presidential palace in the capital Ankara, the Turkish presidency said.
Erdogan has been a major supporter of Doha in the crisis that has left Qatar diplomatically and economically isolated.
On June 5 last year, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut ties with Qatar accusing it of backing extremism and fostering ties with their rival Iran.
Doha, however, denies the claims and Ankara has insisted there is absolutely no evidence to back them.
The latest meeting between the two men came as the UAE accused Qatar of “intercepting” two Emirati passenger planes en route to Bahrain.
Erdogan has strongly denounced the sanctions against Doha and, in a show of solidarity, Turkey has also sent cargo ships and hundreds of planes loaded with foodstuffs.
In recent years, Qatar has emerged as Turkey’s top ally in the Middle East, with Ankara and Doha closely coordinating their positions on a number of issues.
Notably, both are outspoken against Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Ankara has a military base in Qatar, a key foothold for Turkey in the Gulf.