Qatar emir meets Erdoğan in surprise Turkey visit
AA PhotoThe emir of Qatar on March 12 met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for surprise talks in the capital Ankara, a Turkish presidential official said.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani was holding closed-door talks at Erdoğan's newly built presidential palace in Ankara, the official told AFP, without elaborating further.
The meeting, which was not on Erdoğan's official daily schedule, comes amid renewed tensions stemming from the presence of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadists in Iraq and Syria right up to the Turkish border.
Turkey and Qatar, both overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, have emerged as close allies in the last years during the conflict in Syria and Arab Spring uprisings.
They have closely aligned their policies on Syria and have also both intensively engaged with the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.
Qatar has been one of the main supporters of the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has allowed demonstrations against him to be held in its capital, Doha.
However, some have accused the country of backing jihadists, a charge denied on several occasions by officials in the oil rich Gulf state, which joined the US-led coalition against extremists in Syria and Iraq.
A vocal outspoken of the regime in Damascus, Turkey has similarly backed opposition rebels fighting to topple Assad and plays host to nearly two million refugees.
But it has remained reluctant to take robust action against the jihadist threat in a US-led coalition, further straining ties with Washington, its NATO ally.
US special envoy John Allen, who is coordinating international efforts against ISIL, is due to travel to Ankara this week to meet with Turkish officials after a visit to Italy, the US State Department said in a statement.