By Safvan Allahverdi
WASHINGTON (AA) - Qatar supports any country who protects its border, Qatar's Foreign Minister on Thursday said, referring to Turkey's military operation to remove terror groups in Afrin, Syria.
"Qatar is supporting any country which protects its own national security," Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Washington-based think tank.
Al-Thani's remarks came after a question about Turkey's intention by launching military operation in Afrin.
"What’s happening in Afrin is done by coordination with other forces there," he continued. "They [Turkey] are trying to protect their border and I think this is the right of any country to protect its border."
Al-Thani also stated that Turkey's national security concern, which was caused by the threats of "some of the movements in Afrin" needs to be taken into consideration.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
The Turkish General Staff said Operation Olive Branch is to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.
Describing Turkey as "world player" and "an important country" for the region, Al-Thani stated that Turkey and Qatar have strong relationship and "a lot of common interests".
Turkey, as the second largest force and member of NATO is within the pack allies of Qatar, he said, adding that Ankara stood with Doha during the crisis.
"Turkey stood with Qatar during this crisis when it comes to supplies, when it comes to whatever support we have requested from them," he noted.
Emphasizing that the Turkey's military deployment to Qatar is not related to security situation of the region, he added that the move came as a part of an bilateral military agreement which was signed in 2014 -- "way before any crisis".
Additionally, he said the relationship between Ankara and Doha is not only about military but also "strong economic" relationship.
Qatar has been at odds with Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates since June, with the bloc accusing Doha of supporting terrorism and severing ties with the country. Qatar has adamantly denied the allegations.
The crisis is unprecedented in inter-Arab relations and has resulted in the four countries imposing a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar.
Al-Thani, about the issue, stated that his country is ready for collaborative work to resolve the conflict as soon as possible.
Pointing out that every country has sovereignty rights, a solution for this crisis would be possible in an atmosphere where all the related countries were equally treated, Al-Thani added.