The Qatari and Turkish officials discussed various issues of common concern, including the ongoing crisis in Syria and Libya’s political turmoil.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani stressed that Doha has “a clear stance” in the ongoing Ukraine crisis, during a press conference in Turkey on Friday.
“Qatar has a clear position on what is happening in Ukraine, and we are a major player in global markets,” said Sheikh Mohammed alongside his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Istanbul.
The press conference was held on the sidelines of the this year’s Qatar-Turkey Strategic Dialogue, which saw the two countries set out plans to further boost ties.
Sheikh Mohammed described his meeting with the Turkish FM as “constructive”, while Cavusoglu pointed to a rapid increase in bilateral trade between Qatar and Turkey.
The remarks came just a day after Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Kazakhstan.
That meeting was the first to take place between the leaders since 2019, as well as the start of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine earlier this year.
“The meeting between Qatar’s amir and Putin discussed several bilateral and regional issues,” noted Sheikh Mohammed.
Doha has been a major player on the global stage as the world continues to face an ongoing energy crisis that has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.
A month prior to the start of the conflict, Qatar was approached by European buyers seeking to reduce their dependence on Russian gas.
The Turkish diplomat highlighted the Gulf state’s role in seeking to reduce the crisis, saying Ankara appreciates those efforts.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine on 24 February, Turkey has maintained a mediating position and has held various rounds of talks between Russia and Ukraine in an effort to end the war.
Among its key achievements was Ankara’s effort to produce the grain export agreement, which was eventually signed between the rival countries. Qatar had previously praised the agreement as well as Turkey’s role, describing it as “a step in the right direction” to address global food shortages.
“Our position is consistent in rejecting the violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, and we support the Istanbul Agreement for the transfer of grain,” said Sheikh Mohammed, renewing his country’s appreciation for the deal.
In a separate meeting in Kazakhstan on Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Putin. Cavusoglu noted that the Russian president suggested to the Turkish leader “the possibility of Moscow exporting gas via Turkey”.
“Russian gas pipelines will reach Turkey and possibly to Italy,” said Cavusoglu, adding that Turkey seeks “to reduce pressure on Europe by exporting gas to it”.
The press conference in Istanbul also came just a day after rival Palestinian factions signed an agreement brokered by Algeria.
While reports stated that Qatari representatives participated in the Palestinian reconciliation talks in Algeria on Tuesday, Doha has not commented on its participation.
“The State of Qatar and Turkey welcome the Algeria Declaration, which was signed by the various Palestinian factions, and we hope that these results and positive steps will contribute to ending the state of division that greatly affected the Palestinian cause,” said Sheikh Mohammed.
Hamas controls the Gaza Strip while Fatah holds the Palestinian Authority (PA) government in Ramallah. Egypt had also tried brokering an agreement between the two sides through previous meetings, but yielded no results.
Qatar’s foreign ministry stated on Thursday that the Algeria Declaration consolidates “the national project to establish an independent Palestinian state on 1967 borders with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.”
Commenting on the ongoing Israeli attacks against Palestinians, Sheikh Mohammed also renewed his country’s condemnations of the ongoing escalations.
“We condemn the daily Israeli escalation and Israeli violations in the West Bank,” said the Qatari official.
The Gulf state repeatedly voices its refusal to normalise with the Israeli regime as long as it continues its ongoing occupation of Palestine.
The ongoing Syrian crisis is among a range of key issues of concern for both Qatar and Turkey. The ally states have cooperated in several initiatives in an effort to bring the crisis to an end through peaceful means.
“We would like there to be a real political solution to end the suffering of the Syrian people,” said Sheikh Mohammed.
In March 2021, Qatar, Turkey and Russia announced the launch of a “trilateral consultation process” to end Syria’s decade-old conflict amidst an apparent deadlock.
However, the developments of the initiative remain unclear in light of the ongoing Russian war on Syria.
Turkey is the largest host of Syrian refugees, where more than 3.6 million are currently sheltered as Syria’s Bashar Al Assad regime continues to wage a deadly war against civilians.
Meanwhile, Qatar continues to refuse to normalise with the Assad regime for its flagrant human rights violations against Syrians.
The Libyan situation has also remained a concern for Qatar and Turkey, with Tripoli failing to hold elections amid continuous political unrest and escalations between rival parties.
Sheikh Mohammed stressed the importance of Libya’s territorial integrity and the need to “end division and holding elections”.
Turkey played a key role in ending the 2019-2020 war that was launched by warlord General Khalifa Haftar through a military intervention.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that the conflict in Libya has internally displaced more than 200,000 people.