Blockade is ‘bloodless declaration of war’: Qatari minister
ANKARA/DOHAQatari Minister of Defense Khaled al-Attiyah has described a blockade imposed by several Arab states on his country as a “declaration of war.”
“This is a bloodless declaration of war,” al-Attiyah said in an interview with the London-based Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper published on June 30, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Al-Attiyah arrived in Ankara on June 29 for talks with Turkish officials.
He was due to meet with his Turkish counterpart Fikri Işık late on June 30, after the Hürriyet Daily News went to press.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates abruptly cut ties with Qatar on June 5, citing Doha’s support for terrorism.
Doha denies the accusations and has rejected a 13-point list of demands it received from the four countries to restore ties.
Turkey has shipped supplies to Doha to help ease its isolation and swiftly ratified military agreements with Qatar.
Crucially, Ankara is also setting up a military base on the emirate set to give Turkey a new foothold in the Gulf. A bill was fast-tracked through the Turkish parliament this month as the crisis was breaking out, giving Ankara a mandate to send up to several thousand troops to the base.
The four Arab states, among other demands, are pressing Doha to shut down a Turkish military base in the country.
However, Ankara does not plan to reassess a deal on its military base in Qatar, Defense Minister Fikri Işık said on June 23 in response to a call from four Arab states to shut down its military base in the Gulf state.
“Re-evaluating the base agreement with Qatar is not on our agenda,” Işık said in a televised interview, adding that Turkey’s presence in Qatar should be seen as a “benefit for the whole Gulf.”