Turkey plays host to Qatari defence minister for talks

Trump spoke with Erdogan on Friday by telephone on the crisis, the White House said
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. (Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images)
By AFP
Sat 01 Jul 2017 11:55 AM

Qatar's Khaled bin Mohammed al-Attiyah met with Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik at the defence ministry in Ankara, the state-run news agency Anadolu said.

The meeting came as Ankara resists pressure to shutter a Turkish military base that Qatar's neighbours want to see closed.

In the talks, Isik said that "the current issues between the [Gulf] countries, who are brothers, must be resolved soon".

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain announced on June 5 the suspension of political, economic and diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremist groups.

Doha denies the claims. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has offered Ankara's full support.

Turkey has provided food and other aid through planes and a cargo ship, although Ankara's attempts to mediate between the sides have so far come to nothing.

Ankara is also setting up a military base in Qatar that is set to give Turkey a new foothold in the Gulf, sending in a first deployment of two dozen troops.

Last week Riyadh and its allies issued 13 demands to Qatar for resolving the crisis, including the closure of the Turkish military base and the Doha-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera.

Ankara has been careful not to directly criticise Riyadh and previously urged the kingdom to lead attempts to solve the crisis.

US president Donald Trump spoke with Erdogan on Friday by telephone on the crisis, the White House and Turkish presidency said.

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