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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Erdogan in Doha says Turkey seeks to enhance ties with GCC


Foreign ministers of both countries dismissed reports over a meeting between the Turkish president and Saudi crown prince.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Doha on Monday for the seventh annual Qatar-Turkey Supreme Strategic Committee meeting, where the allies are expected to sign up to 12 memoranda.

Ahead of his arrival to the country, President Erdogan said his country seeks to enhance its ties with all Gulf countries and long-time ally Qatar, saying relations will continue in a “much more productive way”.

“We welcome all diplomatic efforts directed toward reopening doors of dialogue and eliminating misunderstandings,” Erdogan told reporters at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, as quoted by the Anadolu Agency [AA].

Co-chaired by Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and his Turkish counterpart, the upcoming strategic dialogue is set to mark a new chapter in Doha-Ankara bilateral ties, building on progress made over the past years.

Turkish FM thanks Qatar for helping release citizens captured by Libya’s Haftar

Turkish ministers and businessmen are also among the delegation in Doha that will be partaking in the latest strategic dialogue.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the press in Doha on Monday that the latest strategic dialogue is set to promote relations in various fields including defence, culture, education, trade among others.

Qatar and Turkey signed over 60 agreements over the past years, which include positioning Turkish forces in Qatar at the Khalid bin Al-Walid Base. The base opened in December 2019.

They are also expected to sign an agreement that would pave the way for Qatari and Turkish students to receive education in both countries.

Officials from both countries will further discuss developments in Libya, Iraq, Syria, the Palestinian cause and Afghanistan.

“We look forward to tomorrow’s meeting that will look into these files among others,” said Cavusoglu.

On Saudi Arabia

Meanwhile, speculations over a possible meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MBS] were raised given the timing of their visits to Qatar this week.

Cavusoglu and his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani dismissed reports over such meetings, saying that the timing of the visits is coincidental.

Qatar’s foreign minister also expressed his hope in seeing the resumption of ties between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

“We always hope to see brotherly ties with all Qatari allies and there are Turkish-Saudi efforts in ensuring the restoration of their ties,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

The 2017 GCC crisis was triggered when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt launched an illegal land, air and sea blockade on Qatar over claims that is sponsors terrorism. Doha has vehemently denied those allegations.

The quartet claimed the move was due to Qatar’s relations with Iran and Turkey, both of which have had their own political rivalries with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar, Turkey to hold strategic dialogue in Doha this week

“Turkey wants to develop its relations with all countries in the region,” said Cavusoglu, noting that its different positions across a number of files should not affect Ankara’s ties with any country.

“We do not have any animosity nor ill intentions to countries in the region. Qatar is contributing to improving relations with Turkey and countries in the region and we thank it for its efforts,” added Cavusoglu.

When the GCC crisis was resolved earlier this year, Qatar offered to mediate between Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran. On the other hand, it offered to mediate between Abu Dhabi, Tehran and Ankara.

Almost a year into the Al-Ula accord, signed between the GCC countries and Egypt, there have appeared to be changes in Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s foreign policies.

Saudi Arabia and Iran have engaged in several rounds of talks over the past months, with positive statements being released from both sides.

Similarly, UAE and Turkish officials have been exchanging diplomatic visits.

The two countries also signed a number of agreements last week in the fields of energy and technology following talks between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan in Ankara.

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