Presıdent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is in Kuwait as part of a two-day official visit with the Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah to improve bilateral relations and regional cooperation between the countries. As Turkey has been developing relations with Gulf countries, the ongoing crisis in Syria and Yemen as well as the defense and construction agreements between the two countries are on the agenda of Erdoğan's visit. Arriving in the Gulf country on Monday, Erdoğan was welcomed with an official ceremony by Sabah and held closed door meetings with the Kuwaiti prime minister, foreign minister and other senior officials. According to a written statement by the Presidency on April 21, at the top of the agenda are the crises in Syria and Yemen as the two countries display convergent attitudes on critical regional issues.
Both countries extend their supports to end the civil war in Syria and the removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Last month at the third Syria donor conference in Kuwait, where a total of $3.8 billion was collected, Turkey was extolled for spending around $5 billion on the 1.7 million Syrian refugees it is currently hosting.
Touching on the significance of strategic dialogue, in an interview with the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) before his visit, Erdoğan said that Turkey has nearly two million Syrian refugees looking for shelter in Turkey, and added that Turkey has spent up to $5.5 billion in an attempt to extend a helping hand to refugees. Saying that Ankara has strong ties with all Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), Erdoğan criticized the international community for not giving enough help to solve the ongoing civil war in Syria.
The crisis in Yemen is another issue that both countries are in agreement on, as they both support the Saudi-led campaign called Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen against Iran-allied Houthi rebels.
Calling for reconciliation in the troubled country, Erdoğan said in the interview with KUNA that Houthi militias should end their attacks and be part of the political process.
Yemen has been engulfed in chaos since 2012, when former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced to step down after 33 years in power following an uprising. Shiite Houthi militias took control of the capital Sanaa in 2014 only months after huge demonstrations by Houthis against increased fuel prices. The Houthi insurgency is supported by soldiers loyal to Saleh. In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and some Arab countries, including Kuwait and Qatar, launched a campaign against the Houthis in Yemen. Operation Decisive Storm ended on April 21 and was replaced by Operation Renewed Hope, which is more politics-based.
On April 15, the U.N. Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Houthi militias in Yemen and blacklisted Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, as well as Saleh's son. Turkey expressed its support for the resolution in Yemen in a written statement from the Foreign Ministry. The statement said that Turkey expects all parties in Yemen, especially the Houthis, to do their part in order to maintain peace abiding by international law.