DOHA, Qatar, The Emir of Qatar flew to Turkey yesterday (Wednesday), to meet close ally, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an apparent show of support as Ankara grapples with a currency crisis. According to media, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani was travelling to Turkey for a “working visit.”

The Emir “will discuss with the Turkish president, bilateral relations and means of strengthening existing strategic cooperation between the two countries, in various fields.”

Turkey has been rocked in recent days, by a sharp decline in the value of its lira, after US President Donald Trump tweeted, last Friday, that, Washington was doubling aluminium and steel tariffs for Ankara. Washington’s move came during an ongoing dispute over Turkey’s holding of an American pastor for two years.

In response, Erdogan called for a boycott of US electrical goods. The turmoil raised fears of a looming economic crisis, and prompted alarm that foreign investors in the country, including Qatar, could be hit in the fallout. Turkey and Qatar have become close economic and political partners in recent times.

Doha has US$20 billion worth of investments in Turkey, official figures showed last month, and Ankara is now one of the top exporters to the emirate.

In recent days, Qatari supporters of Turkey have begun a public campaign in Doha, to change their riyals into lira in an attempt to shore up the plunging Turkish currency. It is believed many Qatari investors could be at risk from a Turkish economic crisis.

Underscoring the ties between the countries, Sheikh Tamim was the first foreign leader to phone President Erdogan during the aborted coup in Turkey, in 2016. And Ankara has been conspicuous in its support of Doha, as Qatar battles with continued Saudi-led isolation from Arab neighbours.

Turkey also maintains a small military base in Qatar.