LONDON: Turkey on Sunday thanked Qatar for supporting a widely-condemned invasion of northern Syria.
Doha acted in defiance of the Arab League last month when it voiced support for the Turkish operation against Kurdish forces in north-east Syria.
Other Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, condemned Turkey’s “aggression” as a threat to regional peace and security and a violation of Syria’s sovereignty.
The operation, which came after Donald Trump withdrew US troops from the region, was also denounced by European countries and aid groups.
Qatar however defended Turkey, saying Operation Peace Spring was in response to an “imminent threat” from Kurdish groups. One of the few other voices of support came from the hardline Palestinian militant group Hamas.
On Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu personally thanked Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim for supporting the operation during a meeting in Doha. In a tweet he described Qatar as a “brotherly” nation and conveyed the greetings of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”
Turkey and Qatar have grown closer since Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain launched a boycott of Qatar over its links to extremist groups and cooperation with Iran. Ankara boosted its military presence in Qatar and as Doha promised support for Turkey’s economy.
The Turkish operation was launched on Oct. 9 to push back from its border Kurdish fighters, who it considers terrorists for their links to decades of insurgency inside Turkey.
A truce deal signed last week between Ankara and Moscow demanded Kurdish fighters withdraw from the border, handing the Turks a 120 kilometer-long stretch of Syrian territory.
The deal includes joint Russian-Turkish patrols along other parts of the frontier that started on Friday.