Turkey re­mains hope­ful of solution to Gulf row

Er­do­gan meets Qatar de­fense min­is­ter

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Turkey yes­ter­day said it re­mained hope­ful of a solution to the Gulf cri­sis that has seen its ally Qatar diplo­mat­i­cally and eco­nom­i­cally iso­lated, af­ter Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan held talks with the emi­rate’s de­fense min­is­ter. In Ankara’s lat­est show of sup­port for Qatar, Er­do­gan hosted De­fense Min­is­ter Khaled bin Mo­hammed Al-At­tiyah for talks at the head­quar­ters of the rul­ing party in Ankara. The meet­ing came as Ankara, which has stood by Doha through­out the cri­sis, re­sists pres­sure to shut­ter a Turk­ish mil­i­tary base on the emi­rate that Qatar’s neigh­bors want to see closed.

Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates, Egypt and Bahrain an­nounced on June 5 the sus­pen­sion of po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and diplo­matic ties with Qatar, ac­cus­ing it of sup­port­ing ex­trem­ist groups. Doha de­nies the claims, a stance backed by Turkey which has sent hun­dreds of aid flights and even a cargo ship to bring food for its embattled ally. Ankara’s at­tempts to me­di­ate be­tween the sides have so far come to noth­ing but af­ter the talks in the Turk­ish cap­i­tal pres­i­den­tial spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said he was hope­ful of a res­o­lu­tion. “There are some in­di­ca­tions that a solution is pos­si­ble. This is our gen­eral im­pres­sion. We need to con­tinue ef­forts to take mea­sures that go in the right direction,” he said.

Cru­cially, Ankara is also set­ting up a mil­i­tary base on the emi­rate that is set to give Turkey a new foothold in the Gulf, send­ing in a first de­ploy­ment of two dozen troops. Kalin de­fended the base, say­ing its aim was en­sur­ing “de­fense and se­cu­rity” in the re­gion. Riyadh and its al­lies is­sued 13 de­mands to Qatar for re­solv­ing the cri­sis, in­clud­ing the clo­sure of the Turk­ish mil­i­tary base and the Doha-based broad­caster Al-Jazeera.

Turkey crit­i­cized the ul­ti­ma­tum but has also taken care not to di­rectly tar­get Saudi Ara­bia, the key pro­tag­o­nist in the cri­sis. On Fri­day, US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump spoke with Er­do­gan to dis­cuss the dis­pute. Trump and Er­do­gan dis­cussed ways to re­solve the dis­pute “while en­sur­ing that all coun­tries work to­gether to stop ter­ror­ist fund­ing and to com­bat ex­trem­ist ide­ol­ogy”, the White House said in a state­ment. — Agen­cies

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