Turkish deputy PM urges dialogue to resolve Gulf crisis


Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Kurtulmuş said in an interview with London-based Al-Araby television that the Gulf crisis between Saudi-led bloc and Qatar must be resolved with dialogue.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has called for dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Qatar to resolve the Gulf crisis.

In an interview with London-based Al-Araby television on Monday, Kurtulmuş said the Turkish military base in Doha was a Turkish-Qatari issue.

"Our foreign policy has an axis and a goal. We fight for justice and law in the world," he said. "We don't want clashes between our brothers and friends."

"Both the Gulf region and the Middle East are already in a great political turmoil, this is why we want the Gulf crisis to end peacefully," he said.

Last month, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain all abruptly cut diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.

Saudi Arabia also sealed its land border with Qatar, geographically isolating the tiny Gulf nation.

The four countries presented a list of 13 demands to Qatar, including the closure of the pan-Arab Al Jazeera television, or face further sanctions.

Qatar, for its part, denied the accusations, saying the move to isolate it diplomatically was "unjustified" and in breach of international law.

The deputy prime minister said Turkey was not taking sides in the Gulf crisis.

He went on to call on Saudi Arabia and other Arab states to give up their demands and start a new phase of negotiations, saying Turkey was ready to contribute to de-escalate the crisis.

"Neither Qatar nor any independent country would accept the list of such demands," he said.

"Saying that there would be additional embargo acts in the event that Qatar does not follow the demands is just not right," Kurtulmuş said.

"As Turkey, we continue to supply Qatari citizens with necessary food or daily-life materials," he added.

The Turkish official said that the list of demands simply violates the sovereignty of any independent country.

"No country would approve such demands," he said. "Saudi Arabia and other countries should abandon the demands, which is a better approach towards the crisis."

"Everybody should act in accordance with reason in the Islamic world and negotiate within the scope of brotherhood, friendship and cooperation principles," he said.

"The political conflicts can not be solved with hostility. Such conflicts should be resolved by being aware of the fact that we are friends, neighbors, and a part of the Islam ummah (nation). This is our political approach."

Noting that Turkey's doors were open to anyone, including Saudi Arabia and other countries, Kurtulmuş said "we can negotiate with any country for our Middle East policy, which is based on peace. We want this crisis to be de-escalated as soon as possible."

Asked about the Turkish military base in Qatar, Kurtulmuş said: "If the Turkish military base in Qatar is to be closed, the decision will be taken via negotiations between Qatar and Turkey."

"Qatar will surely ignore the demand for the removal of Turkish military base in the country," he said.

"The Turkish military base in Qatar has nothing to do with the Gulf crisis as it was planned and went into force long before the political turmoil," he said, referring to the fact that the military base negotiations began in 2014.

The Turkish official went on to stress that the Turkish military personnel were in Qatar "in order to achieve regional peace".

He said that Turkey was not the only country with a military base in Qatar, referring to the U.S. Al Udeid base in the Gulf country which is the largest in the Middle East.

"Any turmoil in the Gulf will harm all countries in the region," he warned. "We have to de-escalate the crisis."

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