Turkey, Saudi Arabia to try to reduce tensions over Qatar

Trevor Jackson
June 26, 2017

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has asked Qatar to pay serious attention to the list of demands from Saudi Arabia and its allies, including the closure of al-Jazeera television news network and downgrade of relations with Iran, as the Persian Gulf diplomatic crisis aggravates.

Turkey will not close its military base in Qatar, Turkish Defense Minister said on Friday in reply to a demand by four Arab countries to end boycott against Doha.

CNN reported that some of the demands, handed on Friday almost three weeks after Saudi Arab, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt boycotted Qatar, may infuriate Doha and exacerbate the region's worst crisis in decades.

In addition, in less than 10 days, Qatar was forced to suspend every single diplomatic and military tie with Iran and close a Turkish military base.

Not only must Qatar shut down the Doha-based satellite broadcaster, the list says, but also all of its affiliates.

Qatar must also stop the practice of granting citizenship to individuals wanted by other Arab nations.

Saudi Arabia and other states closed land borders with Qatar on 5 June, expelling its citizens from their territory and banning its national carrier from its airspace.

The ultimatum presented to Qatar also includes demands that the natural gas-rich state stop funding a host of other news outlets including Arabi21, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and Middle East Eye.

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The demands aimed at ending the worst Gulf Arab crisis in years appear created to quash a two decade-old foreign policy in which Qatar has punched well above its weight, striding the stage as a peace broker, often in conflicts in Muslim lands.

The list also demands that Qatar align itself militarily, politically, economically and socially with other Gulf nations.

— Immediately terminate the Turkish military presence now in Qatar and end any joint military cooperation with Turkey inside of Qatar.

Turkey has rejected a demand from Arab countries to shut its military base in Qatar.

According to the document seen by AP, Qatar is being asked to shut down diplomatic posts in Iran, expel any members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard and only conduct trade with Iran that complies with United States sanctions. He said Qataris were united behind their emir, and called Al-Jazeera and foreign policy as internal affairs not open to negotiation.

FILE - In this January 1, 2015, file photo, staff members of Al-Jazeera International work at the news studio in Doha, Qatar.

The terrorist list included the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader and head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), Shiekh Yousuf al-Qaradawi and Abdullah bin Khalid, a former interior minister of Qatar.

USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson cancelled a trip to Cancún this week in an effort to bring the dispute between the U.S. allies to an end.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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