ANKARA – Reuters
Turkish exports to Qatar have tripled from their normal levels to $32.5 million since four Arab countries began boycotting the Gulf state on June 5, Turkey’s Customs and Trade Minister Bülent Tüfenkçi said late on June 22.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain accuse Qatar of funding terrorism, fomenting regional instability and cozying up to the revolutionary theocracy of Iran.
Qatar has denied the accusations.
They have sent Doha
a list of 13 demands including closing Al Jazeera television, reducing ties to their regional adversary Iran
and closing a Turkish military base in Qatar, an official of one of the four countries told Reuters.
Turkey has backed Qatar in the dispute but is also wary of upsetting its other allies, including Saudi Arabia.
“Since June 5 exports to Qatar have amounted to $32.5 million. Of this $12.5 million is food. This figure is three times the normal level,” Tüfenkçi told reporters at a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner on June 22.
Turkey has sent more than 100 cargo planes of supplies to Qatar but Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi has said it was not sustainable to maintain supplies through an air lift.
On June 22, Turkey sent its first ship carrying food to Qatar and dispatched a small contingent of soldiers and armored vehicles there, while President Tayyip Erdoğan spoke with Saudi Arabia’s leaders on calming tension in the region.