Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced the isolation of Qatar as “inhumane and against Islamic values”, urging Saudi Arabia to take a leading role in resolving the ongoing crisis among Gulf Arab nations.
“Qatar has showed the most decisive stance against terrorist organisation Daesh alongside Turkey. Victimising Qatar through smear campaigns serves no purpose,” he said during a parliamentary address, using the Arabic abbreviation for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), on Tuesday.
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Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt and a number of other countries severed relations with Qatar last week, accusing it of supporting armed groups and Iran. Qatar rejects the accusations.
Erdogan said that it appeared some countries had decided to hand down the death penalty to Qatar and urged Saudi Arabia to reconsider the harsh steps against the Gulf country.
“The king of Saudi Arabia, as leader of the Gulf, should solve this issue. I especially think that he should lead the way towards resolving this crisis,” Erdogan told members of his ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara.
“A very grave mistake is being made in Qatar, isolating a nation in all areas is inhumane and against Islamic values. It’s as if a death penalty decision has been taken for Qatar.”
Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Istanbul, said that the isolation of Qatar is unexplainable to the international community.
“Ankara is trying to involve other actors in order to end the isolation of Qatar as the chair of the Organisation of Islamic Conference.”
Turkey has maintained good relations with Qatar as well as several of its Gulf Arab neighbours.
Blockade on Qatar
The measures against Qatar have disrupted imports of food and other materials and caused some foreign banks to scale back business.
Qatar, which imported the vast majority of its food from bigger Gulf Arab neighbours before the diplomatic shutdown, has been cooperating with Iran and Turkey to secure food and water.
Moreover, the three Arab Gulf countries ordered Qatari nationals to leave within 14 days, while Saudi, UAE and Bahraini citizens were also given the same timeframe to leave Qatar.
Qatar has condemned the boycott declared by its neighbours as “collective punishment”, as hundreds of mixed-citizenship couples with one Qatari spouse are facing the grim prospect of being split up.
Amnesty International also criticised the blockade on Qatar, saying it was “splitting up families and destroying people’s’ livelihoods and education”.