Tur­key’s leader tours Gulf amid dis­pute

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

KUWAIT CITY — Tur­key’s pres­i­dent waded into the di­plo­matic cri­sis grip­ping Qatar and four other Arab na­tions on Sun­day, trav­el­ing to Saudi Ara­bia and Kuwait as part of a three-coun­try Gulf tour aimed at help­ing break the im­passe.

Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan is the fifth high-level vis­i­tor from out­side the Gulf to try to re­solve the dis­pute since it erupted on June 5. The top di­plo­mats of Bri­tain, France, Ger­many and the United States have all been through al­ready, un­der­scor­ing the depth of con­cern the cri­sis is caus­ing well be­yond the re­gion.

Er­do­gan faces a tougher chal­lenge in se­cur­ing a break­through than Tur­key’s NATO al­lies be­cause of the in­creas­ingly warm ties, in­clud­ing the de­ploy­ment of mil­i­tary forces, it has built with Qatar in re­cent years. While mem­bers of the anti-Qatar quar­tet have strong trade links with Tur­key, its close­ness to Qatar raises sus­pi­cions of its mo­tives. Er­do­gan will visit Qatar af­ter his stop in Kuwait.

Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties and trans­port links with Qatar in early June, ac­cus­ing it of sup­port­ing ex­trem­ists. Qatar strongly de­nies the al­le­ga­tion and sees the dis­pute as po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

AP

Tur­key’s Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan (sec­ond left) walks Sun­day with Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ah­mad Al Sabah (cen­ter) be­fore their meet­ing in Kuwait City.

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