Turkish exporters ready to meet Qatar demand for food and water: Industry official
ANKARA - Reuters
REUTERS photoTurkish exporters are ready to meet demand for food and water from Qatar, the head of Turkey's main exporting trade body told Reuters on June 7, allowing the Gulf state to stave off possible shortages after its biggest suppliers cut ties.
Mehmet Büyükekşi, chairman of the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM), told Reuters that exporters stood ready to fill the gap after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia cut trade ties with Qatar.
A government official in Qatar earlier told Reuters Doha was talking to Iran and Turkey about securing food and water supplies.
“We are in talks with Turkey and Iran and other countries,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject, adding that the supplies would be brought in through Qatar Airways cargo flights.
The official said there were enough grain supplies in the market in Qatar to last four weeks and that the government also had large strategic food reserves in Doha.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain severed relations with Qatar and closed their airspace to commercial flights on June 5, charging it with financing militant groups. Qatar vehemently denies the accusations.
It is the worst split between powerful Arab states in decades.
The moves isolating Qatar are disrupting trade in commodities from crude oil to metals and food, and deepening fears of a possible jolt to the global gas market, where the tiny Gulf state is a major player.
Food imports are affected as Saudi Arabia closed its land border with Qatar, stranding thousands of trucks carrying supplies.
Qatar, a desert country heavily dependent on food imports to feed its mostly foreign population of 2.6 million, has assured residents it has taken measures to assure that normal life continues.
Although it is located in a volatile region of the world, its huge foreign currency reserves and comparatively small population mean arranging adequate new sources of food imports in an emergency is a possibility.
Turkey is a key ally of Qatar and is setting up a military base in the country which also hosts the largest U.S. air base in the Middle East.
Iran shares access with Qatar to the world’s biggest natural gas field.