Er­do­gan warns against pro­long­ing cri­sis over Qatar

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

IS­TAN­BUL — Pro­long­ing the cri­sis in the Gulf sparked by the iso­la­tion of Qatar is not in the in­ter­est of any­one, Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan said on Sun­day as he em­barked on a key visit to the re­gion.

“No­body has any in­ter­est in pro­long­ing this cri­sis any­more,” Er­do­gan was quoted as say­ing by the Hur­riyet Daily News, be­fore leav­ing Is­tan­bul air­port on the two-day trip that will take him to Saudi Ara­bia, Kuwait and then Qatar.

He ac­cused “en­e­mies” of seek­ing to “fire up ten­sions be­tween broth­ers” in the re­gion.

On June 5, Saudi Ara­bia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emi­rates and Egypt cut ties with Qatar ac­cus­ing it of back­ing ex­trem­ism and fos­ter­ing ties with their Shi­ite ri­val Iran. Doha de­nies the claim and has been strongly backed by Ankara through­out the stand­off.

The cri­sis with Qatar has put Turkey in a del­i­cate po­si­tion and Er­do­gan has re­peat­edly said he wants to see the end of the dis­pute as soon as pos­si­ble.

In re­cent years, Qatar has emerged as Turkey’s num­ber one ally in the Mid­dle East, with Ankara and Doha closely coordinating their po­si­tions on a num­ber of is­sues in­clud­ing the Syria con­flict where both are staunch foes of Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad.

Cru­cially, Turkey is in the throes of set­ting up a mil­i­tary base in Qatar, its only such out­post in the re­gion. It has sped up the process since the cri­sis be­gan and re­port­edly now has 150 troops at the base.

“From the first mo­ments of the Qatar cri­sis, we have been on the side of peace, sta­bil­ity, sol­i­dar­ity and di­a­logue,” said Er­do­gan.

But Turkey, which is also go­ing through a tur­bu­lent time with the Eu­ro­pean Union and the United States, also does not want to wreck its own re­la­tions with re­gional king­pin Saudi Ara­bia.

“As the elder states­man in the Gulf re­gion, Saudi Ara­bia has a big role to play in solv­ing the cri­sis,” said Er­do­gan, with ex­plic­itly crit­i­ciz­ing the king­dom.

Er­do­gan said he sup­ported the me­di­a­tion ef­forts of Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad al-Sabah, a pos­si­ble in­di­ca­tion Ankara sees Kuwait as the key to solv­ing the cri­sis.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Ha­mad al-Thani said on Fri­day he was ready for talks to re­solve the cri­sis so long as the emi­rate’s sovereignty is re­spected.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.