CAIRO – 6 August 2017: Qatar did not back down its stubborn policy of strengthening relations with Iran and Turkey, ignoring the demands set by Arab countries, which include downgrading diplomatic ties with Iran and closing a Turkish airbase in Qatar.
Qatar's Economy Minister Ahmed bin Jassim Al-Thani, Iran's Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi, and Turkey’s Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci, met Saturday in Tehran to discuss means of enhancing economic relations.
The trilateral meeting came on the sideline of the oath-taking ceremony of Iran's president Hassan Rouhani, which was attended by Qatar's Economy Minister. Qatar’s attendance in the inauguration ceremony was considered provocative to its neighboring countries that severed diplomatic and economic ties with Doha two months ago.
During the meeting, the three countries discussed land trade routes to be used to ship Turkish goods from Turkey to Qatar passing through Iran.
Lately, Doha and Ankara have announced new economic and trade projects during a business forum. Turkey also proposed that Qatar be part of joint food production.
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In a direct challenge to the Arab’s boycott of Qatar, the Turkish minister stated that the “Turkish economy can satisfy all the needs of Qatar, from food to tourism, and from construction to energy.”
Turkish military cooperation with Qatar has also been obvious recently, as Turkey had placed more than 11 security checkpoints in Doha to inspect Qatari citizens and inhabitants, said the Qatari opposition coalition on its unverified Twitter account Qatar Mubashir on Thursday.
Qatar’s relations with several Arab and Gulf states have been strained since May 24, when the Qatari state-run news agency reported Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani’s statements regarding Gulf foreign policy with Iran, describing it as “unwise.”
On June 5, 2017, several countries, including Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, severed diplomatic ties with Doha over accusations of Qatar backing and funding terrorist groups.
On June 23, 2017, the four Arab states boycotting Qatar sent Doha a list of 13 demands, including downgrading diplomatic ties with Iran and cutting off any joint military cooperation with it.
Following the crisis of cutting ties, Iran has already shown support for Qatar, as the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been sent to protect Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani inside his palace.
Meanwhile, Turkey has also sent products to Qatar a few days after cutting ties with Gulf neighbors, as the country faced a shortage of fresh produce, subliminally messaging that Qatar is not alone.
Turkey also has sent focuses from a Turkish military base to Qatar, in exchange for economic benefits from Qatar.