Turkey sends 5,000 tons of food to Qatar

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Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi (L) meets with Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (R) in Doha, Qatar on June 14, 2017. Cem Ozdel / Anadolu Agency

Amid a crisis between Qatar and other Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia, Turkey has announced that it sent 5,000 tons of food to Doha in 71 airplanes, NTV reported.

“A total of 5,000 tons of food were transported to Qatar in 71 planes. We will start sending by ship this weekend. Trucks are also on the way,” said Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi during a TV program on Saturday.

Zeybekçi accompanied Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu during his visit to Qatar and Kuwait last week.

“Turkey has provided for the humanitarian needs of Qatar and will continue to do so,” added Zeybekçi.

Underlining that Turkey would side with the weak party in the current crisis in the Gulf, the minister said Saudi Arabia should take steps to end it.

Zeybekçi noted that the trade volume between Turkey and Qatar could exceed last year’s figure of $850 million.

Qatari investments in Turkey total $2.2 billion.

The diplomatic crisis erupted between Qatar and other Gulf countries after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed relations with Doha claiming Qatar embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disrupting stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al-Qaeda, and constantly promotes the messages and schemes of these groups through their media.

On Tuesday Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Saudi King Salman – the eldest statesman in the Gulf – must show leadership and solve the crisis with Qatar.

Criticizing the Gulf countries’ isolation of Qatar by saying it is “inhumane and against Islamic values,” Erdoğan said, “It’s as if a death penalty decision has been imposed on Qatar.”

A delegation consisting of three members of the Turkish military was dispatched to Qatar on Tuesday to make preparations for troop deployment to the country, which is now in a diplomatic crisis with other Gulf states.

On June 7, the Turkish Parliament approved legislation allowing its troops to be deployed to a Turkish military base in Qatar.

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