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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan backs Qatar in dispute with Saudi Arabia

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From flickr.com: Doha, Qatar {MID-127177}
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defended Qatar after Saudi Arabia and several other countries severed diplomatic ties with it for supporting Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

President Erdogan is the Chairman of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Ironically, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Maldives are members of the OIC.

"Let me say at the outset that we do not think the sanctions against Qatar are good," Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara. "Turkey will continue and will develop our ties with Qatar, as with all our friends who have supported us in the most difficult moments," he added alluding to last year's failed coup.

Erdogan was careful not to criticize Riyadh, calling on the member nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council to "resolve their differences through dialogue." "Efforts to isolate Qatar ... will not solve any problem," said Erdogan, praising Doha's "cool-headedness" and "constructive approach".

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Qatar is a member of the six-state Gulf Cooperation Council. Other GCC members are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

President Erdogan on Monday held phone calls with leaders of several Muslim and Western countries in a bid to find a solution to the diplomatic row between Qatar and five Arab states. "Our President, as the current head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, got actively involved in this [Qatar row] by having phone calls with both some Islamic countries and some Western countries, to resolve the issue," Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said.

The Kremlin press service said on Monday Russian President Vladimir Putin and Erdogan discussed the situation in a phone call, urging all involved sides to engage in a dialogue to "develop compromise solutions in the interest of preserving peace and stability in the Persian Gulf region."

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Turkish parliament approves troop deployment in Qatar

Turkey's parliament on Wednesday approved a draft bill allowing its troops to be deployed to a Turkish military base in Qatar, an apparent move to support the Gulf Arab country when it faces diplomatic and trade isolation from Saudi Arabia and few other states.

The Turkish bill, drafted before the rift, passed with 240 votes in favor, largely with support from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and nationalist opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Officials from the AKP and MHP said the legislation would allow troops to be deployed to a Turkish base in Qatar, amid reports Turkey is also set to offer food and emergency supplies to the country.

Turkey set up a military base in Qatar, its first such installation in the Middle East, as part of an agreement signed in 2014. In 2016 Ahmet Davutoglu, the then Turkish prime minister, visited the base where 150 troops have already been stationed, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reported.

In an interview with Reuters in late 2015, Ahmet Demirok, Turkey's ambassador to Qatar at the time, said 3,000 ground troops would eventually be deployed at the base, planned to serve primarily as a venue for joint training exercises.

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Trump speaks to Qatar's emir

Trump spoke with the emir of Qatar on Wednesday and offered help in resolving the crisis, the White House said. "The president emphasized the importance of all countries in the region working together to prevent the financing of terrorist organizations and stop the promotion of extremist ideology" in his call with the emir, the White House said. Trump offered to help resolve the diplomatic crisis, including through a White House meeting.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 

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