Arab demands on Qatar unlawful, says Turkey prez

- Reuters, ISTANBUL

Jun 26, 2017-

President Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday dismissed calls for Turkey to close a military base in Qatar and said a wider list of demands issued by four Arab states was an unlawful intervention against the Gulf emirate’s sovereignty.

In his strongest statement of support for Qatar in the nearly three-week-old crisis centred on the Gulf state, Erdogan said the call to withdraw Turkish forces was disrespectful and that Doha - which described the demands as unreasonable - was taking the right approach.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain imposed a boycott on June 5 on Qatar and issued 13 demands including closing Al Jazeera television, curbing relations with Iran, shutting the Turkish base and paying reparations.

Doha said it was reviewing the list, but said it was not reasonable or actionable. “We approve and appreciate the attitude of Qatar against the list of 13 demands,” Erdogan, speaking outside a mosque in Istanbul, said. 

The demands are apparently aimed at dismantling Qatar’s interventionist foreign policy which has incensed conservative Arab peers over its alleged support for Islamists they regard as threats to their dynastic rule.

Both Qatar and Turkey, whose ruling AK Party has its roots in Islamist politics, backed a Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt before it was overthrown in 2013. The Arab states have demanded Qatar cut any links to the Brotherhood and other groups they deem to be terrorist, ideological or sectarian. 

Bahrain’s state news agency on Sunday confirmed the demands set out by un-named Gulf officials on Friday, including that Qatar close the Turkish base, end military cooperation with Ankara inside Qatar and stop supporting militant groups.

Published: 26-06-2017 09:35

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