Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is traveling to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as part of a three-country Gulf tour aimed at helping remove the blockade on Qatar.
Led by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties and transport links with Qatar on 5 June, accusing it of funding extremists. Qatar has been strongly denying these allegation and claims the dispute as politically motivated.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the fifth of such high power official outside the gulf region to try and resolve the dispute since it erupted on June 5. Top diplomats of Britain, France, Germany and the United States have all tried and failed at trying to help ease tension between the countries as the ripples from the crisis are causing disturbances outside its boundaries.
While members of the anti-Qatar quartet have strong trade links with Turkey, its closeness to Qatar has given them reason to be suspicious of its motives.
Erdogan began his trip earlier in the day in Saudi Arabia, the ring leader of the opposing side of Qatar. During his visit to the Red Sea city of Jeddah, he held talks with King Salman and his heir apparent, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Brief statements of both meetings carried by the official Saudi Press Agency noted that the talks focused on methods to counter terrorism (the topic they are harping about with respect to Qatar) in addition to touching on bilateral and regional issues.
After the longest silence, Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said in his first public comments on the blockade on Friday that Qatar is prepared to engage in dialogue, but that any resolution to the crisis must respect its sovereignty and that any terms cannot be dictated from outside. He also echoed his country’s commitment to fighting terrorism.
Since no form of mediation has resulted positively we wonder how much Erdogan’s visit can do to ease the crisis knowing he sides with Qatar.