Erdogan delivered his comments while addressing members of his party in parliament on Tuesday.
“A very grave mistake is being made in Qatar, isolating a nation in all areas is inhumane and against Islamic values. It’s as if a death penalty decision has been taken for Qatar,” Reuters quotes Erdogan as saying.
The rift between Qatar and Arab League states opened earlier in June, when a number of the region’s states – including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, and Yemen – severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting Islamist militants and Iran. Qatar has dismissed the allegations as a “campaign of incitement” which is “based on lies.”
Erdogan said that it was Qatar, alongside Turkey, which had been fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) extremists the most.
“Qatar has shown the most decisive stance against the terrorist organization Islamic State alongside Turkey. Victimizing Qatar through smear campaigns serves no purpose,” Erdogan said, urging the Saudi king, as an elder politician in the region, to take the lead in untangling the crisis.
As the Qatari crisis unfolded, Erdogan almost immediately announced “full support” for Doha, stating that “we don’t find sanctions against Qatar right.”
Last Wednesday, Turkey’s parliament promptly approved two deals signed in December 2015 and April 2016 between the two countries – to deploy Turkish troops to a base in Qatar and to train its domestic police force. The legislation was ratified by Erdogan the following day.
“Turkish troops are coming to Qatar for the sake of the securıty of the entire region,” Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told reporters last Thursday.
A three-person team of Turkish military experts arrived in Qatar on Tuesday to coordinate preparations for deployment, AP reports, citing an army statement. The military added that such visits have been underway since 2015. An agreement on a Turkish military base in Qatar was signed in 2014.
Iran appears to have already intensified shipments of food supplies to embattled Qatar. The country has announced that it has sent a ship with 180 tons of fruits and vegetables to the Persian Gulf emirate – the first such shipment after Doha was caught in a diplomatic row with its Arab neighbors.
Iran’s media said the shipment was made on Tuesday from the country’s southern port of Bandar Lengeh in Hormozgan Province.
Officials had already said it would take maximum 12 hours for a ship to reach Qatar from Iran’s southern ports.
“The cargo was sent in ten 40-feet refrigerated containers,” the domestic media quoted Mahmoud Saberi, the navigation director of Bandar Lengeh.
“Bandar Lengeh is fully prepared to send all the products that Qatar requires by ships.”
On the same front, Khalil Qassemi, the director of Hormozgan Department of Industries, Mine and Trade, was quoted as saying that increasing food exports to Qatar was top on the agenda of the trade activities of the province.
Qassemi emphasized that Iran views Qatar as a profitable market for its food products.
Iran had already announced that it was sending 100 tons of food supplies to Qatar by cargo planes every day since last week.
Accordingly, officials told the domestic media that the shipments were being made from Tehran and Shiraz.
Other reports said Iran was also looking into exporting dairy products to Qatar and certain negotiations to the same effect were underway.
Officials have been quoted by media as saying that Iran could send at least 45 tons of dairy products to Qatar by ships.