Upcoming days crucial for Qatar: Turkey
ANKARA / DOHAThe upcoming a few days are crucial for the future of Qatar, Ankara has said, after four Arab states that accuse Doha of supporting terrorism agreed to extend until late on July 4 a deadline for it to comply with a list of demands,
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussed the matter with his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, during a phone conversation last week, Erdoğan’s spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said on July 3 during a press briefing.
Turkey has called on the U.S. to play a constructive role in resolution to the crisis, Kalın added.
“The upcoming few days are crucial for Qatar,” he said, noting that one of the key demands of the Gulf countries was the closure of a Turkish base in Qatar, which he described as a “violation of sovereignty rights.”
“This crisis will end and the friendship between Turkey and the Gulf countries will remain,” Kalın added.
Turkish government speaker and Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş also said the base issue should not be linked to the Gulf crisis.
“If this crisis gets deeper, the one to pay the bill will not be Qatar only but all the countries in the region,” Kurtulmuş said after a cabinet meeting on July 3.
Qatar has called the charges “baseless” and says the demands, including closing Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV and ejecting Turkish troops based in Qatar, are so severe that they seem deliberately intended to be rejected.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have raised the possibility of further sanctions against Qatar if it does not comply with the 13 demands presented to Doha through Kuwait, which is acting as a mediator.
According to a joint statement on Saudi state news agency SPA, the four countries agreed to a request by Kuwait to extend by 48 hours Sunday’s deadline for compliance.
They have not specified what further sanctions they could impose on Doha, but commercial bankers in the region believe that Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini banks might receive official guidance to pull deposits and interbank loans from Qatar.
Foreign ministers from the four countries will meet in Cairo on July 5 to discuss Qatar, Egypt said, while Arab media reported that Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani arrived in Kuwait on July 3 to deliver Doha’s formal response to the Arab demands.
The four states cut diplomatic and commercial ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting terrorism, meddling in their internal affairs and advancing the agenda of regional foe Iran, all of which Qatar denies. Mediation efforts, including by the U.S., have been fruitless.
Trump spoke separately to the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi in the UAE to discuss his “concerns about the ongoing dispute,” the White House stated.