Turkish President Erdogan heads to Qatar in first overseas visit since coronavirus

Turkish President Erdogan heads to Qatar in first overseas visit since coronavirus
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on a one-day visit to Qatar.
2 min read
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seen before his departure to Qatar [Anadolu/Getty]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Qatar for a day-long trip on Thursday, Turkish official news agency Anadolu reported.

This marks the president's first trip overseas since the coronavirus pandemic began.

President Erdogan and his delegation left for Qatar in a private plane on Thursday afternoon.

He will meet Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Turkey's Communications Directorate announced Wednesday.

The two leaders will discuss the relations between the "brotherly" countries, as well as regional and international issues, the statement said.

Discussions will be held on the situations in Syria and Libya, political analyst Ali Bakeer reported on Twitter. 

President Erdogan will be accompanied to Qatar by Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, Head of Intelligence Hakan Fidan and his presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, Anadolu reported.

Ankara and Doha have grown closer since Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with their former Gulf ally Qatar more than three years ago.

The bitter rift came over Saudi and UAE accusations that Qatar supports extremist groups and wants closer links with Iran, the arch-rival of regional power Saudi Arabia.

Doha strongly denies the claims.

Turkey's burgeoning relationship with Qatar has seen it increase its military presence in the Gulf country, while Doha pledged economic support to Ankara during a 2018 currency crisis.

The Qatari emir was the first world leader to call Erdogan following a failed military coup in July 2016 and congratulate him on his victory against the plot.

Doha also provided support to Ankara when it intervened in northeastern Syria against the YPG Syrian Kurdish militia in October 2019, while other Arab countries including Saudi Arabia condemned Turkey's "aggression".

The two countries also have similar policies with regards to Islamist groups, primarily the Muslim Brotherhood.

Turkey's relations with Egypt and Saudi Arabia are rocky at present, and ties between the kingdom and Ankara worsened significantly after the killing of Washington Post contributor and regime critic Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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