Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan landed in Saudi Arabia Sunday to begin a two-day trip aimed at defusing a standoff between Ankara’s ally Qatar and neighboring countries.
“No one has any interest in prolonging this crisis any more,” Erdogan said at the Istanbul airport prior to his departure. “I hope our visit will be beneficial for the region.”
Erdogan starts his trip in the Saudi port city of Jeddah, where he is holding talks with King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Turkish president will then travel to Kuwait for meetings with Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, before heading to Qatar to see Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have severed relations with Qatar. They are enforcing a land and sea embargo, accusing the oil-rich nation of supporting extremist groups and destabilizing the region, allegations Qatar has denied.
In the middle of the crisis, Ankara opened a military base in Qatar as part of an agreement dating back to 2014. Turkish deployments of equipment, like tanks, to the base, have been steadily rising. The Saudi-led group had come up with a list of 13 demands on Qatar, including closing the Turkish base; but that demand was withdrawn, a move for which Ankara took credit.
Source: Voice of America