Qatar announces support to Cairo
In this photo provided by the Presidential Press Service, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R) greets Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani during a ceremony at his new presidential palace in Ankara. AP PhotoQatar has announced its determination to thaw ties with Egypt, diverging from an agreement with Turkey over opposition to the Cairo government, only few days after renewing commitments to close relations with Ankara.
“The security of Egypt is important for the security of Qatar … the two countries are linked by deep and fraternal ties,” a statement from the office of the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said in the late hours of Dec. 21.
The statement came a day after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi met in Cairo with a Qatari envoy, suggesting a possible thaw in relations between the two estranged countries.
After the meeting with the Qatari Emir’s envoy, Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdel Rahman al-Thani, on Dec. 20 el-Sisi’s office also issued a statement saying, “Egypt looks forward to a new era that ends past disagreements.”
Emir’s recent Turkey visit
Qatar’s pledge to reconcile ties with the Egyptian government came only two days after al-Thani’s official visit to Ankara, where Turkey and Qatar signed a series of cooperation agreements.
As strong supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in the region, Qatar and Turkey have long been on the same page in regard to regional issues, particularly on Egypt.
Both countries have repeatedly denounced the ouster of Islamist Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in July last year. They also provided shelter for many Brotherhood leaders, especially those who were forced to flee a crackdown in Egypt, leading to a strain of their ties with Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
However, in its statement on Dec. 21, Qatar also thanked Saudi Arabia for its mediation in a diplomatic crisis that had seen several Gulf states pull their ambassadors from Doha, indicating the recovery of its relations with the regional power as well.
Ankara’s fierce opposition
Particularly after al-Thani came to power in June 2013, Qatar fine-tuned its foreign policy significantly, to be in line with recent developments in the region.
As recently as Dec. 9, Qatar joined its neighbors at a summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in supporting el-Sisi.
Nonetheless, Turkey has stuck to its uncompromising policy vis-à-vis the el-Sisi regime, which it regards as the “coup makers in Cairo,” in contrast to the friendlier policies of other actors in the Middle East, including the Gulf states.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been particularly vocal about his criticisms of the el-Sisi government, declaring his refusal to recognize the “legitimacy” of the Egyptian president and reproaching countries that have so far accepted el-Sisi as a legitimate leader.