By Yusuf Sahbaz
A ship carrying 4,000 tons of food for beleaguered Qatar left Turkey early on Thursday, marking a change in how essential supplies are being sent to the tiny Gulf state.
The vessel, carrying dry food, fruits and vegetables, departed Izmir in western Turkey.
Qatar, a small peninsular Gulf state, cannot maintain food supplies across its now-closed land border with Saudi Arabia because of the “embargo crisis”, the chief executive of the logistics company behind the shipment told Anadolu Agency.
Ipek Demirci said a sea route had been opened because air transport was insufficient to meet the needs of the Qatari population.
She also said her firm was preparing to send a second ship in the coming days.
So far, 105 cargo planes from Turkey have carried aid to Qatar, Ankara’s economy minister, Nihat Zeybekci, said on Wednesday.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Bahrain and Yemen abruptly cut diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.
Mauritania followed suit shortly afterward, and Jordan closed the local office of Qatar’s al-Jazeera satellite news channel.
Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. and Bahrain also closed their airspace to Qatari aircraft, and gave Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave their respective countries.
Riyadh sealed its land border with Qatar, geographically isolating the small country.
Other countries to have recently cut diplomatic ties with Qatar include the Maldives and the Comoros Islands, along with Libya’s Tobruk-based government, which supports putschist general Khalifa Haftar and lacks international recognition.
Qatar denies all accusations that it is a supporter of terrorism, describing moves to isolate it by its fellow Arab countries as “unjustified”.
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