Qatar emir due in Turkey for first trip since Gulf crisis

AP News
Posted: Sep 14, 2017 12:18 PM
Qatar emir due in Turkey for first trip since Gulf crisis

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey said Thursday it wants Qatar and its Arab neighbors to overcome differences through dialogue and a "brotherly" manner as Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was set to arrive in Ankara on his first foreign trip since a diplomatic crisis erupted.

Sheikh Tamim is scheduled to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss ties as well as the three-month-old diplomatic rift between the Gulf neighbors.

"We support a resolution of the crisis through a brotherly manner and through dialogue," Ibrahim Kalin, Erdogan's spokesman, told reporters. "This crisis only serves the enemies of this region."

Sheikh Tamim's trip Thursday to Turkey comes as a Qatari exile held a conference in London that explored in part a "bloodless coup" overthrowing Doha's government.

The conference was organized by Khalid al-Hail. Analysts and experts have suggested al-Hail is being supported by the Arab countries now boycotting Qatar, something he denies.

"We have a crisis, the government of Qatar has to admit it," al-Hail said. "And I don't believe the current regime in Qatar is acting for the good of my people."

Also attending the event was Shlomo Brom, a retired Israeli general who is now a researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies, a respected think tank in Tel Aviv. His presence was a surprise, especially given Arab nations' concerns over peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Turkey has been trying to mediate between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors but has also shown solidarity with Doha in the crisis by delivering food and other supplies and boosting military ties, including sending troops to a Turkish base there.

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Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates cut ties with Qatar in June over its close ties to Iran and its alleged support for extremists.

Qatar has denied supporting extremism, saying the crisis is politically motivated.

The prime minister of Kuwait, which is mediating the crisis, was also in Ankara on Thursday for talks with Turkish leaders. It was not clear if Sheikh Tamim and Kuwait's Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah would meet in Ankara.

Sheikh Tamim is scheduled to travel on to Germany for a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel.


Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Joseph Federman in Jerusalem contributed.