Turkey, Saudi Arabia discuss efforts to end Qatar rift

Agreement reached on increasing efforts to end tension between Gulf states and Qatar, sources from Erdogan’s office say.

Erdogan spoke with the Saudi leaders on Wednesday evening by phone [File: Matt Dunham/EPA]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and its new crown prince over the phone and they agreed to increase efforts to end tension related to Qatar, sources from Erdogan’s office said.

Turkey has offered support to Qatar after Saudi Arabia and several other nations severed ties with Doha over accusations of funding terrorism and fomenting regional instability.

Qatar denied the accusations and said the measures were “unjustified”.

READ MORE: Mohammed bin Salman named Saudi Arabia’s crown prince

Erdogan spoke with the Saudi leaders on Wednesday evening and “agreement was reached on increasing efforts towards ending tension in the region related to Qatar”, the sources said in a statement.

The leaders also stressed their determination to strengthen Turkish-Saudi ties, while Erdogan congratulated Mohammed bin Salman on his promotion to crown prince, the sources said before adding that Erdogan and King Salman also agreed to hold face-to-face talks at the G20 meeting in Hamburg next month.

READ MORE: Who are the key players in the GCC diplomatic crisis?

King Salman made his son next in line to the throne on Wednesday, handing the 32-year-old sweeping powers as the Kingdom seeks a radical overhaul of its oil-dependent economy and faces mounting tensions with regional rival Iran.

On June 7, Turkey’s parliament fast-tracked legislation to allow troops to be deployed to a military base in Qatar, two days after Gulf countries cut ties with Doha in the worst diplomatic crisis in the region in years.

Turkish analysts talking to Al Jazeera interpreted the move as “an apparent show of support for Qatar“.

“This indeed suggests that Turkey sees its defence ties with Qatar as an indispensable pillar of its strategic posture in the region,” Can Kasapoglu, a defence analyst from Turkey’s Centre for Economics and Policy Studies, said.

“It also shows that Ankara would not drastically alter its long-term vision for regional fluctuations.”

Turkey has a military base in Qatar that currently houses about 90 Turkish soldiers.

The Turkish forces conducted their first training at Tariq bin Ziyad military base earlier this month in a drill that had been long planned. 

Qatar welcomes Turkish troops; wraps up war game with US

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies