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August 15, 2018 11:21 am

Qatar’s Emir Heads to Turkey for Talks With Erdogan

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani speaks with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis (not pictured) during a meeting at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, on April 9, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Joshua Roberts.

Qatar’s emir headed to Turkey on Wednesday for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is dealing with a collapse of the lira currency and deteriorating relations with the United States.

Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Erdogan are expected to discuss “means of strengthening the existing strategic cooperation between the two countries in various fields,” the state news agency QNA reported.

Turkey and Qatar have traditionally maintained good ties and Ankara stood by Doha after Saudi Arabia and other Arab states severed diplomatic, trade, and travel ties with Qatar last year, accusing it of financing terrorism, a charge Doha denies.

Turkey, which has a military base in Qatar, rushed through supplies to the Gulf state after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt imposed the boycott. Qatar is allied with the West.

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Qatar’s banking sector has considerable exposure to Turkey, whose currency has lost nearly 40% this year.

Qatar National Bank, the Middle East and North Africa’s largest bank, in 2016 completed the acquisition of Turkey’s Finansbank. Now around 15 percent of QNB’s assets and 14 percent of its loans relate to Turkey, according to Arqaam Capital.

Commercial Bank, Qatar’s third largest bank by assets, has been deploying more capital and focus on its Turkey business in a bid to benefit from closer political ties between the two countries. The lender owns Turkey’s Alternatifbank.

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