Turkey sends fresh 'blockade busting' ship to Qatar with vital food supplies
Turkey is set to send a new cargo ship filled with food supplies to Qatar to help break an economic blockade imposed on the Gulf state by its neighbours.
The ship will leave the Turkish port of Izmir on Wednesday with 9,500 tonnes of food, including fruit, vegetables and dry foodstuffs and is expected to arrive in Qatar on August 26, the Anadolu news agency reported.
The general manager of QT Logistics, the company carrying the products to Qatar, told the state-run agency that the firm plans on sending ships with food supplies to Doha every 15 days.
"Qatar is also importing goods from other countries, but consumers there prefer Turkish goods so Qatari businessmen are buying Turkish products," Ipek Demirci said.
Demirci added that a third food-loaded vessel would set sail after the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha set to take place at the end of the month.
Regional kingpin Saudi Arabia as well as Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have since June 5 imposed a boycott on Qatar, accusing the emirate of fostering Islamist extremist groups and of close ties to Iran.
Doha has denied the allegations and has been strongly backed by Ankara throughout the standoff.
The four nations have closed their land and sea borders to Qatar and imposed economic and air traffic restrictions.
Turkey has sent hundreds of cargo planes and trucks carrying food and medicine to Qatar to help the emirate meet its daily needs. The first Turkish ship was sent to Doha in June.
The Qatar Ports Management Company announced the opening of two new shipping services between Qatar and Oman on Sunday.
It said that new services from Oman's Hamad and Salalah ports will stop at Sohar Port in Oman six times a week.
Oman has stayed neutral throughout the diplomatic spat.