When the going gets tough – Qatar’s Emir lands in Turkey

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Turkey Earthquake happend in February 2023.

As the death toll from the deadly earthquakes that hit Syria and Turkey last Monday surpassed 29,000 on Sunday, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani landed in a devastated Turkey to meet with the president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

To lend an ear as well as a hand, Qatar’s Emir was the first foreign leader to visit Turkey and meet with the devastated country’s President Erdogan, expressing his solidarity on Sunday.

The Qatari Emir took to twitter “We met today with my brother President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan, and during this visit, we learned about the latest repercussions of the devastating earthquake disaster that struck Türkiye and Syria. We affirm our support and solidarity with the brothers, and to contribute to the efforts made to mitigate this disaster”.

According to a statement issued by the emir’s office, the Amiri Diwan, the two leaders also discussed “strategic relations between Qatar and Türkiye and developments in the region”.

Anadolu Agency, the Turkish news agency, reported that “Al-Thani also expressed his condolences to Erdogan for those who lost their lives in the earthquakes, stressing that Qatar will continue to offer all kinds of support to the brotherly people of Türkiye to overcome the crisis”.

Emir Al-Thani reportedly held a phone call with President Erdogan hours after the earthquakes first hit on Monday February 6th and was quick to order the launch of an air bridge and dispatched more than 120 personnel of the Qatar International Search and Rescue Group. Relief aid, tents, medical and winter supplies, field hospitals.

More recently, Qatar pledged 10,000 mobile homes for earthquake-hit regions which arrived in Turkey on Sunday. The mobile homes had been deployed in Doha for the World Cup 2022 and had already been earmarked for donations.

An estimated 23 million people have been affected, many of which were displaced after the 7.8-magnitude quake flattened entire neighbourhoods in both Syria and Turkey so assistance from the international community has been making a difference. President Erdogan has reportedly pledged to the angered population that he will rebuild the earthquake-hit areas within a year.

On Friday, the Emir also donated QAR 50 million ($14 million) to earthquake victims on live television. On the same day US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, met with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in Washington, and commended Qatar for their contribution speaking of “Qatar’s incredible generosity” as a perfect example of how Qatar “constantly steps up when it comes to meeting some of the most urgent challenges we face”.

Turkey and Qatar have become fast friends in recent years, as The Economist explained in a 2021 article, “drawn closer, spurred on by ideology, business and isolation. Turkey, which is big and cash-strapped, counts on Qatar for financial support; Qatar, which is small and rich, relies on Turkey for protection”. Whichever the reasons for the two countries’ rapprochement, one thing is clear: Qatar’s support for its new friend Turkey is tangible, through the good times, and the bad.

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