Erdoğan considered a father by Qatari Emir - columnist

The Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani considers Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “a father” to whom he owes unfaltering loyalty, a columnist for the pro-government daily Yeni Şafak said on Wednesday.

Al-Thani made the comment in a recent phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron, columnist Mehmet Acet said, citing a source in Erdoğan’s inner circle. 

Energy-rich Qatar has repeatedly provided Turkey with financial support, including a $5 billion credit swap deal widely believed to have helped fend off a currency crisis in November last year.

The deal was expanded to $15 billion in May as the Turkish lira continued to decline in value.

Qatar’s intervention “saved” Erdoğan, Acet cited Macron as saying, to which al-Thani replied, “he is my father… I will never stop standing by him.”

“When the coup attempt was made in June 2017, only Erdoğan was with me”, al-Thani said.

Turkey and Qatar have formed a close relationship in the face of isolation by other regional powers.

Ankara has led efforts to break a Riyadh-imposed blockade on Doha, providing crucial imports. In return, the country hosts one of Turkey’s largest foreign military bases and has sought close ties over defence and security.    

Cooperation includes Syria and Libya, where both countries have supported groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, leading to tensions with neighbours.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused Turkey and Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilising the region.

“The Turkish military presence in the Arab Gulf is an emergency,” Reuters quoted the United Arab Emirates foreign minister, and a close Saudi-ally, as saying on Saturday.

But speaking last week on a visit to Doha, Erdoğan reiterated his support for Qatar.

“Turkey’s military presence serves for the stability and peace not only of the brotherly nation Qatar but also of the whole Gulf,” he said.