ANKARA – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged the king of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, to take a leading role in resolving the ongoing crisis with Qatar, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency (AA) reported.
Last week, five Arab countries — Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen — cut ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.
Qatar denied the accusations, calling the moves to diplomatically isolate the country as “unjustified”.
In remarks made at the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s parliamentary group meeting in Ankara on Tuesday, Erdogan said the isolation of Qatar nation was neither Islamic nor humanitarian.
“Qatar along with Turkey is a country that took the most determined stand against the terrorist organisation, Daesh,” he said.
The president said it appears some countries have already decided to hand down the death penalty to Qatar and urged Saudi Arabia to reconsider the harsh steps against the small Gulf country.
“The king of Saudi Arabia, as leader of the Gulf, should solve this issue. I especially think that he should lead the way towards resolving this crisis,” Erdogan said.
He also asked the countries involved in the crisis to not work against each other. “Making Qatar look guilty has not benefited the region…Qatar should not be considered as just a wealthy country with treasures hidden underground.
“Qatar is also a country that maintains an independent stance,” he said.
About the US support for the PKK/PYD group and its armed wing YPG in the region, the president said: “Those who protect the PYD and the YPG are taking wrong steps through such a decision.”
He also spoke about his phone diplomacy with Gulf leaders last week as part of his efforts to resolve the diplomatic row between Qatar and other countries.
“We will hold a trilateral teleconference with the French president and the Qatari emir today,” he said.
“This is a country that is facing a closure of its airspace. The [Gulf] countries were very close to each other, even though they had a relationship of affinity until yesterday. It [the ongoing crisis] is incredible,” he added.
The president also criticised plans to hold a referendum to decide on the independence of Iraq’s Kurdish region from Baghdad. “Taking a step towards the independence of Northern Iraq is a threat against Iraq’s territorial integrity and is a false step,” he said.
Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) head Masoud Barzani said last week that a vote on independence from Iraq would be held on Sept 25 — a move the Turkish Foreign Ministry called a “grave mistake” on Friday.
Erdogan said several issues in the region need to be resolved through consultation.
“Northern Iraq is not alone in this region. The Arabs in Mosul and Turkmen in Kirkuk are living together. We have always supported steps towards peace while maintaining the territorial integrity of Iraq. We have occasionally seen the loss of control there,” he said.
The president also called for a new bylaw for the Turkish parliament that would improve its efficiency.
“The parliament should not be in recess until the ratification of this new law, and this issue should go away,” Erdogan said.
The Turkish parliament plans to go into recess prior to the Ramadan feast and would continue to be on hold until Sept 12.