Erdogan to visit Kuwait, Gulf
Egypt ends visas on arrival for Qataris
ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will this month visit Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are locked in a deep diplomatic crisis, his office announced yesterday. Erdogan will also visit Kuwait, the main mediator in the Qatar crisis, during his July 23-24 tour. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Ankara would continue to play a “constructive and active” role to help solve what he described as a “pointless” crisis. Yildirim added Erdogan’s visit would be part of this effort.
Erdogan is expected to visit Saudi Arabia then Kuwait on July 23 followed by Qatar on July 24, according to private news agency Dogan. Turkey is a key ally of Qatar, which has been diplomatically and economically isolated by its Gulf neighbors over allegations it supports terrorism. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain last month cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and issued 13 wide-ranging demands to lift the blockade, including the closure of a Turkish military base in the emirate. The crisis has put Turkey in a delicate position as Qatar is its main ally in the Gulf but Ankara does not want to antagonize key regional power Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Egypt will end visa-free entry for Qatari nationals with some exceptions, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said on Monday, the latest measure taken against Doha. “It does not make sense to keep making exceptions for Qatar and giving it privileges in light of its current positions,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid. Qatari nationals will now have to apply for a visa in order to enter Egypt. Qatari nationals with Egyptian mothers, those married to Egyptians, and Qataris studying in Egypt will be exempt from having to apply for a visa, he added.
Sources at Cairo International Airport told Reuters the decision would be implemented from tomorrow, which the Qatari Foreign Ministry later confirmed on Twitter. Foreign workers make up around 1.6 million of Qatar’s 2.5 million population, and hundreds of thousands of them are Egyptians, making them one of the biggest foreign contingents in the Gulf country. So far no action has been taken against them. — Agencies
ANKARA: This photo taken on July 15, 2017 shows Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan waving to an F-16 fighter jet while travelling from Ankara to Istanbul. — AFP