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DIPLOMACY >President Erdoğan to visit Gulf region on July 23 and 24

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is set to embark on a tour to three Gulf countries, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, on July 23 and 24. 

Turkey will “continue its active and constructive role to find a solution to the nonsense crisis that was escalated by Gulf countries targeting Qatar,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said in a parliament group meeting on July 18, adding that Erdoğan was set to visit the Gulf countries to address the issue. 

Erdoğan’s visit comes after Qatar rejected to implement a 13-article list of demands from Saudi-led Arab powers to end isolation of the oil rich Gulf country. One of the demands is the immediate shut down of the Turkish military base in Qatar. Both Qatar and Turkey rejected the call, underlining the need to establish dialogue for peaceful resolution to the problem. 

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen abruptly cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of meddling in their domestic affairs and supporting terror groups. 

Mauritania followed suit shortly afterward, while Jordan downgraded its diplomatic representation in Doha. 

Saudi Arabia has also sealed its land border with Qatar, geographically isolating the tiny Gulf state.      
  
Doha has denied the allegations and described the moves to isolate it as “unjustified.”

Turkey has been engaged in diplomatic efforts and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu visited Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in June, aiming to keep up dialogue for solution of the crisis. 

Turkey, which has long tried to play the role of being regional mediator, has backed Qatar in the dispute, but is also wary of upsetting its other allies, including Saudi Arabia.

Turkey fast-tracked legislation on June 7 to allow more troops to be deployed to the military base in Qatar that houses Turkish soldiers under an agreement signed in 2014.

Erdoğan earlier stated that Turkey also offered Saudi Arabia to set up a military base similar to the one in Qatar, but the latter refused Turkey’s proposal.

July/18/2017

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