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Isolating Qatar will not solve crisis, Turkey's Erdogan says

June 7, 2017 at 3:58 am

Image of President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C) in Ankara, Turkey on 1 June 2017 [Kayhan Özer/Anadolu Agency]

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that isolating Qatar, including by the use of sanctions, would not resolve any problems, adding that Ankara would do everything in its power to help end the crisis.

The Arab world’s biggest powers cut ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of support for Islamist militants and Iran, reopening a festering wound two weeks after US President Donald Trump’s demand for Muslim states to fight terrorism.

“Isolating Qatar will not resolve any problem,” Erdogan said in a speech following a fast-breaking iftar dinner for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. “We are and we will do everything we can to resolve this crisis.”

Erdogan said he has spoken to French President Emmanuel Macron, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, and Jordan’s King Abdullah, among others, as part of a diplomatic push toward resolving the rift.

“I hope sanctions will be lifted soon,” he said, in comments broadcast live on television.

A Turkish presidential source said earlier that Erdogan had also spoken with leaders of Qatar, Russia, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia on lowering the tension.

After the talks between Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said late on Monday they called for dialogue and compromise.

Turkey has good relations with Qatar as well as several of its Gulf Arab neighbours.

Qatar has for years parlayed its enormous gas wealth and media strength into broad influence in the region. But Gulf Arab neighbours and Egypt have long been irked by its support for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, which they regard as a political enemy.