Turkey steps up mediation efforts to end Gulf crisis

Cavusoglu is in Kuwait after a trip to Qatar as Ankara steps up efforts to mend ties between Doha and a Saudi-led bloc.

Turkey''s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks to the media during a visit in the Turkish Cypriot northern part of the divided city of Nicosia
Cavusoglu said he might go to Saudi Arabia after concluding his Kuwait visit [Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters]

The Turkish foreign minister is in Kuwait after a short visit to Qatar as part of Ankara’s push to reach a diplomatic solution to the crisis between a Saudi-led group of countries and Qatar.

Speaking in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Wednesday, Mevlut Cavusoglu called on the sides to resolve their differences “through peace and dialogue”.

Qatar’s isolation against Islamic values, says Turkey

The visit comes after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and a number of other countries severed relations with Qatar last week, accusing it of supporting armed groups and Iran. Doha rejects the accusations.

Riyadh also closed its border with Qatar, the only land border the emirate has. In addition, the closure of Saudi, Bahraini and Emirati airspace to Qatar-owned flights has caused major import and travel disruptions for a country that heavily relies on imports.

During his brief visit, Cavusoglu met Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and Economy and Trade Minister Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani.

‘Peace and dialogue’

Cavusoglu said that Turkey was exerting its utmost efforts to mend ties between Qatar and three fellow members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and other countries acting with them.

“We do not want any differences between our brothers in the GCC countries,” he told Qatar News Agency.

In a separate statement, he told Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu Agency: “The situation we have been going through in this Ramadan is a really undesired one.

“There is such a crisis between sister countries and there are some steps that directly affect people. We must absolutely overcome it. We need to overcome it through peace and dialogue.”

Qatari leaders have reportedly expressed their appreciation for the Turkish support in the crisis.

READ MORE: Qatar-Gulf crisis – All the latest updates

Cavusoglu had said before he started his Gulf trip on Wednesday that he might go to Saudi Arabia to meet King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud after his visits to Qatar and Kuwait.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has described the moves against Qatar as “inhumane”, is expected to hold phone talks over the crisis with US President Donald Trump in the coming days, according to Turkish officials.

Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Wednesday that a trilateral meeting between Ankara, Paris and Doha was also planned.

Ankara has been a vocal support of Qatar in the crisis and increased its food and water exports to the import-dependent Gulf emirate after the country was isolated by its larger neighbours.

Turkish mediation efforts are in addition to mediation efforts already launched by Kuwait’s Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Sabah, who is scheduled to meet Cavusoglu on Thursday.

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Source: News Agencies