The first Turkish ship carrying aid to Qatar is departing Wednesday amid a recent embargo by a handful of other Arab states, said Turkey’s economy minister.
In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency on Wednesday, Nihat Zeybekci said that Turkey will continue to help Qatar with the hope that the Gulf crisis will end soon.
Zeybekci said nearly 105 cargo planes have carried aid from Turkey to Qatar, after five Arab countries cut diplomatic ties with Doha earlier this month.
“However, it is not economical [or sustainable] to send food stuff by plane,” he said.
The minister stated that further shipments will follow Wednesday’s batch, adding that the Turkish aid started to be delivered also by land.
Zeybekci further said Turkey also began to ship more durable consumer goods and house maintenance requirements to Qatar.
Separately, three trucks of vegetables are being sent to Qatar on a weekly basis from Beypazari district of the Turkish capital Ankara, said Yavus Ekici, head of Directorate of Provincial Food, Agriculture and Livestock.
Another five trucks of food will be sent from the southern Hatay province after the Eid al-Fitr — which marks the end of Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, said the head of Hatay Aid Association Rahmi Vardi.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Bahrain and Yemen abruptly cut diplomatic relations with Qatar accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.
Mauritania followed suit shortly afterward, and Jordan closed the local office of Qatar’s Al Jazeera satellite news channel.
Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. and Bahrain also closed their airspace to Qatari aircraft, and gave Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave their respective countries.
Riyadh also sealed its land border with Qatar, geographically isolating the tiny Gulf peninsula.
Other countries to have recently cut diplomatic ties with Qatar include the Maldives and the Comoros Islands, along with Libya’s Tobruk-based government, which supports putschist general Khalifa Haftar and which lacks any international recognition.
Qatar denies all accusations that it is a supporter of terrorism, describing moves to isolate it by its fellow Arab countries as “unjustified”.