Turkey sees hope to find solution to Qatar crisis: Official

July 1, 2017 10:30 pm

’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C) meets ’s Defense Minister Fikri Isik (R) and ’s Minister of Defense Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah in Ankara on July 1, 2017. (Photo by the Turkish Presidential Press Service)

A Turkish presidential spokesman has expressed hope about the likelihood of finding a solution to the ongoing crisis between Qatar and several Arab countries.
“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,” Ibrahim Kalin said.
Kalin made the remarks after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks with Qatari Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah at the headquarters of the AKP ruling party in Ankara.
The meeting came as part of Ankara’s efforts to play a mediating role in the ongoing dispute between Qatar and some Arab countries.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic ties and cut all land, sea, and air contacts with Qatar on June 5. The four countries accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region, allegations denied by Doha.
The countries later issued a list of demands for Qatar to meet in return for the normalization of ties. Among them was that Qatar should shut down Al Jazeera, a media network that has reportedly been critical especially of Saudi Arabia, close a Turkish military base, limit its ties with Iran, and “compensate” the sanctioning countries.
Doha has refused to meet the demands, calling them unreasonable, and said it would not negotiate with the countries unless the blockade has been lifted.
On Saturday, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told reporters in Rome that his country would reject the demands, noting that the ultimatum was aimed not at tackling terrorism but at undermining Qatar’s sovereignty.
“This list of demands is to be rejected, not to be accepted. We are willing to engage in dialogue but under proper conditions,” he said.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani attends a conference in Rome, Italy, July 1, 2017. (Photo by AP)

Qatar has been lobbying with the non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) against the Saudi-led embargo.
On Friday, the Qatari foreign minister met with the representatives of the UNSC member states at the Qatari mission to the UN in New York, urging them to press the sanctioning countries to lift the blockade and to speak out publicly in support of his country.
Turkey has also criticized the ultimatum for Qatar, but has tried not to take any direct stance against Saudi Arabia during the dispute.
Ankara, which has supported Doha throughout the crisis, resists pressure to close its military base in Qatar. Turkey has dispatched hundreds of aid flights and even a cargo ship of food to Qatar during the blockade. 
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