Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Ankara would welcome seven top Muslim Brotherhood (MB) figures who are being forced to leave Qatar after heavy pressure from Gulf countries.
In a press meeting with journalists after returning from an official trip to the Arab country, Erdogan said the Islamist leaders can come to Turkey like any other foreign visitor, if they wish to do so. Turkey's ruling moderate Islamist AK Party backed the Muslim Brotherhood after Egypt's army ousted president Mohamed Morsi from office in July 2013.
He added that none of the figures have yet contacted Turkish officials about a possible asylum application.
Qatar asked the senior MB operatives, including secretary-general Mahmoud Hussein, to exit the country in a move that could ease the regional fight over the Gulf kingdom's harbouring of Islamist fugitives.
Since Egypt's military coup and subsequent outlawing of the MB and its inclusion in the country's terror list, Qatar sheltered many of the organisation's members and called for the reinstatement of Morsi, who was democratically elected.
However, other Gulf nations such as Saudi Arabia and UAE took Egypt's side and publicly voiced their support for new president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Members of the Brotherhood stopped short from blaming Qatar for forcing them out. Amr Darrag, senior foreign affairs official in the Brotherhood's former political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, said the organisation did not dispute Doah's decision and decided to honour its request in order to avoid any embarrassment.
He called Qatar a very welcoming and supportive host. Other Brotherhood's members include cleric Wagdi Ghaneim, Gamal Abdul Satar, Issam Teleima, Asharaf Bader Eddin, Mahmoud Hussein and Hamza Zawba.
The Brotherhood's exodus comes as the United States are trying to drum up support for a Gulf coalition to fight the Islamic State (also known as Isis) in Syra and Iraq. Some of Qatar's powerful clerics have been reported to have fundraised for jihadists in the Middle East, in an attempt to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad.