Turkey : President Erdoğan in Qatar to discuss latest regional developments

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid Sunday and Monday a two-day official visit to Qatar, his first to the Arab World since his election, for talks on bilateral relations, international issues of mutual concern and the latest developments on the regional scale especially the worrying threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL.)


Ankara and Doha which have strengthened their relations over the past few years have similar standpoints on a set of regional issues, including the conflicts in Syria, and Iraq as well as the situation in war-torn Gaza.

The summit talks between Erdogan and Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamim dwelt on means of neutralizing the Islamic State with the least possible impact on their respective countries. Neither Qatar nor Turkey has been directly targeted by the ISIL -although some 40 Turks are being held as hostages by the terrorist group- yet the ISIL’s determination to extend its Islamic caliphate is a source of worry for both countries.

Erdogan visited Qatar just two days after he held a lengthy meeting in Ankara with US Secretary of State John Kerry. During the 2.5 hour-meeting, Kerry presented an international plan to “destroy” ISIL, while Erdogan expounded his country’s concerns about the terrorism threat emanating from domestic terrorist groups as well as from the groups operating outside Turkey.

However, Turkey is unwillingly to offer its territory as an airbase for a US-led military coalition to launch airstrikes on ISIL fighters and did not join the U.S. in its campaign against the Islamic State as did ten Arab states (Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) during the meeting of regional leaders held last Thursday in Jeddah in the presence of John Kerry.

Turkey which attended the Jeddah meeting does not want to be in direct confrontation with the group for the sake of the Turkish diplomats and nationals it is holding hostage.  Moreover, Ankara, which is at grip with Kurdish separatists, is concerned with the international effort to arm Kurdish fighters.

While he was in Doha, Erdogan announced that the two countries agreed to set up a high-level council to boost their political and economic ties.

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