Qatar boosts support for Turkey’s regional forays

Doha and Ankara are keen on providing political and military cover for Libya’s GNA.

Sunday 05/07/2020
Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah (C) welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) upon his arrival in Doha, July 2. (AFP)
Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah (C) welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) upon his arrival in Doha, July 2. (AFP)

LONDON – Qatar remains intent on strengthening its security, intelligence and economic relations with Turkey, placing Libya, particularly, in the crosshairs as Ankara presses ahead with an intervention in the support of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

Qatar’s moves come as an ongoing defiance to its Arab neighbours and at the risk of antagonising the Arab quartet composed of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt.

The close relations between Ankara and Doha have been strengthened, particularly since a diplomatic crisis with Qatar erupted on June 5, 2017, when the Arab quartet accused the Gulf country of supporting Islamist groups, also backed by Turkey, and having close relations with Iran, with the aim of destabilising the region and threatening the security of neighbouring countries.

On Friday, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani hailed his country’s “strategic relations” with Turkey.

Ties “between Qatar and Turkey are growing day by day, particularly in the fields of economic, investment, commercial, energy and defense cooperation to serve the common interests of our nations,” he wrote on Twitter.

Speaking to Al Jazeera television, Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah al-Khater, also said that there is a “broad consensus” between Doha and Ankara.

“Both countries support the Libyan Government of National Accord and support the political solution in Libya based on Skhirat Agreement,” Khater said.

One day after his visit to Doha, Erdogan said that his discussions with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani focused on the Libyan file, in the first place, and the Iraqi and Syrian files, in the second place.

He also stressed that Turkey continues to cooperate with the “legitimate Libyan government with resolve and determination”, adding that Defense Minister Khulsi Akar was holding talks with the Turkey-backed GNA in Tripoli to enhance the “existing cooperation with closer coordination.”

Doha and Ankara are keen on providing political and military cover for Libya’s GNA, which is dominated politically and militarily by the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Turkish and Qatari statements confirm earlier reports about Doha’s unconditional support for Turkey’s Islamist agenda for the region and Erdogan’s expansionist plans, even if that means the undermining of security and stability in the Arab region.

Turkish and Qatari statements also confirm Doha’s intention to keep on financing Turkish interventions in Libya, Syria and other countries in the region.

A report by The Arab Weekly on Friday indicated that Erdogan’s short visit to Doha on Thursday was in fact a tax collection mission aimed at making the Qatari emir dig deep into his pockets and come up with the necessary funds for the Eastern Mediterranean project.

Gulf sources also told The Arab Weekly that the Turkish president is pressuring Qatar to finance his military campaigns in Syria and Libya as well as the military show of force he is conducting in the Mediterranean Sea.