March 21, 2018

Turkish troops in Qatar 'not against any country'

26 June 2017, 08:29 | Doyle Barker

Abu Dhabi // Qatar has begun a "careful review" of the 13 demands presented by other Arab states to end the dispute over Doha's support of extremist groups, the USA state department said on Sunday.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has been working the phones for weeks in a bid to end the rift involving US allies, issued a carefully worded statement Sunday leaning toward Qatar's argument that the demands - or some of them at least - are unrealistic.

On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his "unconditional support" for Qatar and denounced the Gulf States' demands as running "contrary to global law".

Blaming Iran or Qatar for "terrorism" is an attempt by those countries to avoid taking responsibility for their own failures in addressing the demands of their own people, he said in a speech in the German capital in which he argued for a new regional security mechanism for the Gulf countries.

Tillerson also said "a lowering of rhetoric would also help ease the tension", between the countries.

"Tehran stands with the Qatari nation and government".

"Even though they still didn't come back to us on this, asking Turkey to pull back its troops [from Qatar] is disrespectful against Turkey", he said.

Two days after the demand was made, Recep Tayyip Erdogan instead reiterated his support for Qatar and described the 13 demands levelled at the Gulf country as preconditions to restore relations as being "against global law".

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Qatar has been under unprecedented diplomatic and economic sanctions for more than two weeks, with Iran and Turkey increasingly supplying it with food and other goods.

"This list of demands confirms what Qatar has said from the beginning: the illegal blockade has nothing to do with combatting terrorism".

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are among several countries which announced on June 5 the suspension of all ties to Qatar, accusing it of support for extremist groups, a claim Doha denies. He called on Qatar and the other Arab countries to "sit together" to work through the list.

Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani extended wishes for the Eid al-Fitr Muslim festival, which began on Sunday, and said: "Qatar has open arms for interaction and cooperation".

Qatar is reportedly set to welcome up to 1,000 Turkish troops as the diplomatic row engulfing the state worsens.

Qatar said Saturday said that it was reviewing the list of demands, but underlined that it was only doing so "out of respect for our brothers in Kuwait", who delivered the ultimatum.

The director of the Qatari's communication office said the blockade was meant to "limit Qatar's sovereignty and interfere in its foreign policy", according to the official QNA news agency.

Saudi Arabia has also sealed its land border with Qatar, thus geographically isolating it.

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