Dubai - Qatar defended Turkey’s military offensive in northern Syria. Turkey’s military incursion isn’t expansionist because it faced an “imminent threat” from Kurdish groups on its Syrian border, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Shaikh Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani said in Doha.

The comments are Qatar’s first on Turkey’s controversial military operation to build what it called a “safe zone” within its neighbour and push back Kurdish groups at its southern border.

The Kurds should use “proper political process” if they are seeking their own territory, Qatar’s foreign minister said.

The Trump administration on Monday called for “an immediate cease-fire” in Syria and slapped sanctions on three senior Turkish officials.

Turkey helped Qatar more than two years ago when the Arab Quartet’s boycott kicked in. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain blamed Doha for sponsoring extremists groups in the region.

Turkey sent soldiers to Qatar and airlifted food and supplies in the immediate aftermath of the boycott. Qatar also pledged $15 billion to support Turkey’s economy.