Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday urged dialogue to end a crisis that has left Ankara’s ally Qatar diplomatically and economically isolated after key Gulf neighbours cut ties, following talks with the Qatari emir in Doha.
Cavusoglu met Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Doha as well as Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani as Ankara steps up its efforts to solve the standoff.
The state-run Anadolu news agency said that Cavusoglu would on Thursday travel on to Kuwait ─ which is also seeking to solve the crisis ─ before on Friday holding talks with Saudi King Salman in Saudi Arabia.
“This absolutely needs to be overcome,” Cavusoglu told Anadolu in Doha after the talks, describing the current situation as deeply undesirable, especially during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
“This needs to be overcome through dialogue and through peace. Turkey will also make its contribution,” he added. “God willing, we will overcome this and we are working to overcome this.
This is the purpose of these visits.” Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain broke off relations with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting “terrorism”.
The crisis has put Turkey in a delicate position as Ankara regards Qatar as its chief ally in the Gulf but is also keen to maintain its improving relations with the key regional power Saudi Arabia.
Turkey also is eager to maintain workable relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s foe with whom Doha’s critics say Qatar maintained excessively close ties.
Ankara vehemently rejected the accusations ─ already strongly denied by Doha ─ that Qatar supports terrorism, arguing the country had been a staunch opponent of the militant Islamic State (IS) group.
But while strongly backing its ally Qatar, Turkey has stopped short of directly criticizing Saudi Arabia’s actions and called on Riyadh to take a lead role in solving the crisis.