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Qatar's emir travels to crisis-hit Turkey in show of support

  • Published at 07:22 pm August 15th, 2018
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Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani talks with Algeria's Senate President Abdelkader Bensalah (not pictured) upon his arrival at Algiers airport April 2, 2014 Reuters

Turkey and Qatar have become close economic and political partners in recent times

The emir of wealthy Qatar flew to Turkey on Wednesday to meet close ally President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an apparent show of support as Ankara grapples with a currency crisis.

State media in Doha said Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani was travelling to Turkey for a "working visit."

The emir "will discuss with the Turkish president bilateral relations and means of strengthening the existing strategic cooperation between the two countries in various fields," said a Qatar News Agency statement.

Turkey has been rocked in recent days by a sharp decline in the value of its lira after US President Donald Trump tweeted last Friday that Washington was doubling aluminium and steel tariffs for Ankara.

Washington's move came during an ongoing dispute over Turkey's holding of an American pastor for two years.

In response, Erdogan has called for a boycott of US electrical goods.

The turmoil has raised fears of a looming economic crisis in Turkey and prompted alarm that foreign investors in the country, including Qatar, could be hit in the fallout.

Turkey and Qatar have become close economic and political partners in recent times.

Doha has $20 billion worth of investments in Turkey, official figures showed last month, and Ankara is now one of the top exporters to the emirate.

In recent days, Qatari supporters of Turkey have begun a public campaign in Doha to change their riyals into lira in an attempt to shore up the plunging Turkish currency.

It is believed many Qatari investors could be at risk from a Turkish economic crisis.

Underscoring the ties between the countries, Sheikh Tamim was the first foreign leader to phone President Erdogan during the aborted coup in Turkey in 2016.

And Ankara has been conspicuous in its support of Doha as Qatar battles with continued Saudi-led isolation from Arab neighbours.

Turkey also maintains a small military base in Qatar.