Turkish food items fill up empty shelves in Qatari stores

Food items from Turkey are lining up the shelves in stores across Qatar after several of its neighbours imposed an economic blockade on the tiny Gulf nation during the holy month of Ramadan.

Photo by: Anadolu Agency
Photo by: Anadolu Agency

Consumption is traditionally higher during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Turkish products are meeting the high demand for food items in stores across Qatar, which is facing an economic blockade from fellow Arab countries for the past six days.

Led by Saudi Arabia, several states in the Middle East and Africa have severed diplomatic ties with Qatar since Monday (June 5), accusing it of supporting "terrorism" - a charge Qatar rejects.

Saudi Arabia has also closed its land borders with Qatar, geographically isolating the tiny Gulf state. 

After vowing its full support for the tiny Gulf nation, Ankara moved to send stockpiles of food and water supplies aboard cargo planes.

Qatari chain supermarkets announced on social media that daily food products from Turkey such as milk, yoghurt, and chicken were now being sold in stores.

"Everything is going fine in Qatar," said Suhail Awad, a Qatari shopper in capital Doha.

"We are now buying Turkish products," he said. "For the first time, my son will drink milk coming from Turkey."

The hashtag #TurkeywithQatar also trended on Twitter as Turkish food items arrived in the country.

The products are getting prominent placement on the shelves, "where Saudi Almarai products once stood," according to Doha News.

Qatar's dependence on imports

Qatar, which has a population of 2.5 million people, is largely dependent on imports of foodstuffs mostly from UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Trade sources, who declined to be named, said the UAE and Saudi Arabia had stopped exports of white sugar to Qatar.

Majority of Qatar's white sugar imports, estimated at around 100,000 tonnes annually, come from the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Consumption is traditionally higher during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

"Supplies of sugar have been stopped and there is no indication when they could resume," one Middle East based trade source said.

Turkey backs Qatar

Qatar denies that it supports militants and says it is helping to reduce the threat of terrorism by backing groups that fight poverty and seek political reform.

Doha has vowed to fight isolation imposed on it by fellow Arab states and said it would not compromise its sovereignty over foreign policy.

Turkey has backed Qatar with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying on Friday that "We will not abandon our Qatari brothers."

TRTWorld and agencies