Turkey's Erdogan to visit Qatar Monday

Ankara (AFP) –


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Qatar on Monday for discussions on Middle East issues, as the two countries have grown closer since the Saudi-led blockade of the small Gulf state.

"The means to further deepen the cooperation between Turkey and Qatar in all areas will be addressed and views on regional and international issues will be exchanged during the talks," the Turkish presidency said in a statement.

It said Erdogan would attend the fifth meeting of the Turkey-Qatar Supreme Strategic Committee at the invitation of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

The Qatari emir was the first world leader to call Erdogan following the July 2016 attempted coup and congratulate him on his victory.

While Doha provided support to Ankara after its military launched an offensive on October 9 against a Syrian Kurdish militia, Arab countries including Saudi Arabia condemned Turkey's "aggression".

Ankara did join the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar backed by the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt in June 2017, which led to rising Turkish influence in Doha.

The burgeoning relationship saw Turkey's military presence in Qatar increased while Doha promised economic support to Ankara during last year's currency crisis.

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

Turkey's relations with Cairo and Riyadh 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.