Turkey says demands to shut down base in Qatar unacceptable

Turkey says demands to shut down base in Qatar unacceptable

Turkey says demands to shut down base in Qatar unacceptable

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Turkey has reiterated that a demand by four Arab nations for Qatar to shut down the Turkish military base in the Gulf country was unacceptable, expressing its expectation that a solution to the crisis in the Gulf would be reached in the medium term. 

“I want to tell once again that demands over the Turkish base in Qatar is unacceptable,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters at a press conference with visiting Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Thani on July 14.

Çavuşoğlu added that the two countries’ militaries were in technical talks for the implementation of the Turkey-Qatar military cooperation agreement. 

Al-Thani’s visit to Ankara follows U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s four-day diplomatic shuttle in the Gulf in a bid to contribute to the efforts of Kuwait to resolve the dispute between Qatar and the four Arab nations, namely Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. The Qatari Foreign Minister is scheduled to be received by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as well. 

Turkey lent huge support to Qatar from the very beginning of the crisis, opening its market to Qatari companies and sending quick delivery of food and other immediate needs. It also rushed to ratify a military agreement with Qatar and deployed troops to its base. A 13-article list submitted by the Saudi-led bloc to Qatar includes the immediate shut down of the Turkish base. 

Çavuşoğlu stressed that demands issued by these countries to Qatar should be in line with international law and accusations should be supported by sufficient evidence. Recalling a recent agreement between Qatar and the United States on the cooperation to stop terror financing is another example of Qatar’s sincerity in the fight against terror, Çavuşoğlu said the timing of Erdoğan’s visit to the Gulf countries would be finalized next week. 

“Not perhaps in the short run, but we are hopeful that a solution will be found to the problem in the medium term,” Çavuşoğlu said. 

No evidence shown in 40 days 

Al-Thani, for his part, repeated once again that his country was grateful for Turkey’s support to Qatar from the very beginning and was ready to further intensify bilateral strategic cooperation. 

Repeating that Qatar was hoping to reconcile with its neighbors on the basis of mutual respect and international law and to start dialogue to discuss the complaints of the countries, al-Thani said, “However, 40 days have passed since the beginning of the crisis but no evidence or proof have been given to us in regards to their accusations.” 

Denying media reports that Tillerson’s visit to the region was unsuccessful, al-Thani praised the role the U.S. and Kuwait have undertaken to find a solution to the crisis.