Turkey’s president departed for a daylong working visit to Qatar on Thursday, his first overseas trip since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his delegation left aboard a private plane on Thursday afternoon.

The president will meet Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, according to a statement by the country’s Communications Directorate.

The two leaders are expected to discuss relations between the two “brotherly and friendly” countries, it said.

They will also exchange views on regional and international issues, the statement added.

Among the delegation accompanying the president are Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, and National Intelligence Organization head Hakan Fidan.

Turkey and Qatar have enjoyed strong relations, especially in the wake of the 2017 Gulf crisis, in which Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, and Bahrain cut diplomatic and trade ties with their neighbor.

Turkey helped Qatar stand up to a blockade imposed by the other countries.

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