Erdoğan says Turkey will continue to develop ties with Qatar

Turkey's autocrat President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Amid the escalating crisis between Qatar and a group of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday said Ankara would continue to develop relations with Qatar, news website diken reported.

“We will try hard to get this crisis in the Gulf resolved as soon as possible. We will continue to develop our relations with Qatar,” Erdoğan said at a fast-breaking iftar dinner with foreign ambassadors in Ankara.

Describing what has been going on as a “game,” Erdoğan rejected an accusation that Qatar supports terrorism.

“I do not approve of Qatar being seen as terror suspect. If this were the case, I would be the first president to take a stand against [Qatar],” Erdoğan said, adding: “Here a different game is played. We have not yet been able to find out who is behind this game.”

Erdoğan called on regional leaders to disappoint those who seek opportunities to further increase the tension in the region.

Erdoğan has been making a number of diplomatic phone calls in an attempt to ease a diplomatic crisis between Qatar and other Gulf countries, speaking to the leaders of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia, France, Indonesia, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon and Malaysia since Monday.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and Maldives severed their ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Saudi state news agency SPA said Qatar embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disrupting stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al-Qaeda, and constantly promotes the messages and schemes of these groups through their media. ( June 7, 2017

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