Turkey’s Flag – Courtesy of Flickr/Anton Fomkin files
CAIRO – 16 August 2017: The second Turkish food cargo heading to Qatar loaded with about 9500 tons of foodstuffs, fruits and vegetables, raised several questions regarding Turkey’s real intentions with Qatar.
The ship that will anchor at Doha Hamad Harbor on August 26, has more loading capacity than the first ship that arrived at Qatar last June, stated İpek Demirci, general manager of the logistics company behind the shipment statements, according to Daily Sabah report on August 15 citing him from Anadolu Agency and not specifying when.
However, in statements made to Egypt Today on Wednesday, a Qatari opposition, who refused to mention their name for security reasons, described the supply deal between Doha and Istanbul as “blackmail.”
It was added that the Turkish aid did not come free or with reasonable prices even. “The deal took place with very high prices, higher than the norm in international markets.”
After the coup attempt that took place in Turkey on July 2016, the economic national market has been suffering according to a report published by RT on July 17.
It was said that unemployment indicators rose to 13 percent last January, given that the average level of unemployment in most of the Economic Co-operation and Development states is 5.9 percent.
Also, the value of the Turkish lira has decreased twenty percent, along with the number of tourists which also plummeted 30 percent during 2016, according to an RT report.
Since the beginning of the Arabian-Qatari dispute, which was described as the most complicated diplomatic dispute in the Middle East region in a long while, Turkey’s neutrality has been seriously questioned by several officials.
On June 28, Saudi Ambassador to Turkey, Walid bin Abdulkarim Al-Khuraiji said that his government hoped that Ankra’s government would remain neutral regarding the Qatari-Arab dispute, and pursue a policy of non-intervention.
“The foreign powers should know that any kind of interference in the Arab - Qatari dispute is not going to solve it, on the contrary, the situation is going to be more complicated,” Al-Khuraiji said in statements to the daily Sabah newspaper.
Earlier, two Turkish military troops arrived in Qatar on June 18 “for military exercise” according to the Qatari state-owned news agency. The troops consisted of about one thousand soldiers.
Some media outlets considered the sending of Turkish troops to Qatar a serious challenge to the Arab countries, and that Ankara is taking Doha’s Side.
“We hoped Ankara would remain neutral regarding the dispute, and to preserve its good relations with the other Arab and Gulf States,” Al-Khuraiji said.
On June 23, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain sent a list of 13 demands to the Qatari government, including closing Al Jazeera television, reducing ties with Iran and the closing of a Turkish military base in Qatar.
On June 25, the Turkish defense minster Fikri Işık said that he has not seen an Arab formal demand regarding the closing of the Turkey military base in Qatar, Reuters reported. “The base is training the Qatari soldiers and it exists for the security of Qatar and the region.” Işık added.
Qatar’s relations with several Arab and Gulf States has been strained since May 24, when the Qatari state-run news agency reported Sheikh Tamim Al Thani’s statements regarding Gulf foreign policy with Iran, describing it as “unwise.”
On Monday June 5, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Libya and Yemen decided to cut all diplomatic ties with Qatar due to its “continuous support for terrorism,” closing their airspace and seaports to Qatari transportation.
On Tuesday June 6, Kuwaiti Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad started a tour that included Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar in an attempt to mediate between the three countries.
No official details were published about the results of the meetings; however, according to Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa’s statements to Saudi newspaper Makkah on June 8, Kuwait’s attempts at reconciliation had “failed.”
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