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Saudi-Turkish ties strained over differing views on Qatar

Saudi-Turkish ties strained over differing views on Qatar Saudi-Turkish ties strained over differing views on Qatar
Melinda Barton | 29 June, 2017, 09:10

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, as well as several other Muslim nations including Egypt, cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar and closed off sea, air and land links to the tiny Gulf country, accusing it of sponsoring terrorism, interfering in their internal affairs and cultivating warm ties with Iran, a Saudi rival.

"Emiratis, not Qataris, were among the hijackers who flew planes into the Twin Towers, " Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani, who became Qatar's ambassador to Washington in April, said.

"It is unfortunate that our neighbors have chosen to invest their time and resources in a baseless propaganda campaign".

Cavusoglu said he told the Saudi king that "it would be useful now to soften the conditions" against Qatar.

Gas-rich Qatar is now in the middle of a massive $200-plus billion infrastructure programme to help the country to prepare for the 2022 soccer World Cup. "So a blockade on Qatar and measures being taken against Qatar in this way is affecting the interests of those countries as well, directly".

He said the directives issued by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain to address the humanitarian needs of families with joint nationalities appeared to be inadequate, and his office had received reports of specific individuals being ordered to return home or to leave the country they are residing in.

Qatar denies the coalitioin's allegations that it supports terrorist groups and Iran, and has accused Saudi Arabia of seeking to dominate smaller states within the energy-rich region.

Doha-based broadcaster al-Jazeera - one of the targets of the anti-Qatar moves - carried images on its website of a column of armoured personnel carriers moving through streets on Sunday.

Turkish troops have arrived in Qatar to take part in joint training exercises, the Qatari defence ministry has said, as a diplomatic crisis in the Gulf enters its third week.

Qatar will not negotiate with its neighbours to resolve the Gulf diplomatic dispute unless they first lift the trade and travel boycott they imposed two weeks ago, HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said on Monday.

On 7 June - the third day of the crisis - the Turkish parliament fast-tracked legislation to allow the troops to be sent to Qatar. The F-15 deal could give Qatar the sense that it can defy its Gulf neighbors and still enjoy a good relationship with the US, despite Trump's own statements that he backs the Saudi position.

"Qatar has shown the most decisive stance against the terrorist organisation Islamic State alongside Turkey".

Elsewhere in his remarks, Gargash said he believed that when Qatar did back down, there would be a need to monitor its activities in the region, something Western powers could undertake.

The Gulf diplomatic dispute has opened a rift between some of the main US allies in the Middle East, after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain cut off tiny-but-wealthy Qatar from trade, travel and diplomacy two weeks ago. Calling Saudi Arabia "the big brother of the Gulf region", he said Riyadh is playing an very important role in regional peace and security.

In May, Trump sealed a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia on his maiden foreign trip as the USA president.