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Will Qatar Agree to Shut Down Turkish Base Amid Threats of New Sanctions?

© REUTERS / Qatar News AgencyTurkish troops seen at their military base in Doha, Qatar June 23, 2017
Turkish troops seen at their military base in Doha, Qatar June 23, 2017 - Sputnik International
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The Gulf diplomatic crisis reached a new round as the four Arab countries involved, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, threatened Qatar with new sanctions after Doha missed the deadline to meet their demands.

Turkish APC drives at their military base in Doha, Qatar June 18, 2017. Picture taken June 18, 2017 - Sputnik International
The Real Reason Behind the Ultimatum to Qatar to Shut Down Turkish Military Base
On June 23, the four countries handed an ultimatum to Qatar, which contains a dozen of demands Doha must meet to settle the dispute.

The 13-point list demanded that Qatar cut its ties with Iran, close a Turkish military base on its soil and shut down Al Jazeera and its affiliates. Other demands called on Doha to publically denounce relations with Islamist groups, end suspected financing of terrorism and hand over persons designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.

In response, Doha described the demands as "unrealistic" and urged for them to be revised.

In a statement on Friday, the four countries warned that Doha’s refusal to implement the ultimatum untied their hands to take "economic, political and legal" measures they considered adequate.

Some experts believe that taking into account Kuwait’s mediating efforts Qatar could make certain concessions in order to find a compromise.

"Probably, Qatar is already making signals that it could make concessions to resolve the dispute. In particular, Doha may ask Ankara to withdraw Turkish troops from its territory. Probably, this is why Ankara recently said that it would consider pulling out Turkish troops from Qatar only if Doha made such a request," Nuri Yeşilyurt, political analyst at the Ankara University, told Sputnik Turkey.

Working customs (migrants from Nepal) at a checkpoint on the closed border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia - Sputnik International
Egyptian Foreign Minister, Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Discuss Qatar Crisis
He stressed, this statement is not a step back by the Turkish government and should be regarded as a sign of Ankara’s readiness to support Doha’s efforts to reach a compromise and defuse the crisis.

Commenting on the threat of new sanctions against Qatar, Yeşilyurt underscored that the current blockade is negative only for Qatar and this is why Doha’s opponents do not want to compromise.

"They’re waiting for Qatar to back away. They will continue their blockade until Qatar does so," he said.

At the same time, the analyst pointed out that Qatar is ready for dialogue.

"Doha says that if implemented each of the 13 points of the ultimatum would breach its sovereignty. This is right. But Qatar is also showing its readiness to start dialogue. Its policy is open for dialogue that would be mediated by Kuwait. Doha has already indicated that it is ready for a compromise if the initial conditions are eased," Yeşilyurt said.

Suggesting on the possible concessions by Doha, the analyst said that Qatar may reduce criticism in the Al-Jazeera coverage, expel certain members of the Muslim Brotherhood, share intelligence on radical groups and agree the withdrawal of Turkish troops.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani inspect a military honour guard during a ceremony in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015 - Sputnik International
What's Behind Turkey's Decision to Shield Doha From Saudi Anti-Qatar Coalition
Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reaffirmed Turkey’s support for Doha, saying that "what is being done with Qatar runs counter to international law." At the same time, the Turkish leader said that Ankara would close its military base in Qatar if Doha made such a request.

Yeşilyurt also said that the United States could play a role to help find a compromise in the Qatar crisis. According to the expert, Washington’s influence could "put the conflicting parties to a common denominator."

"If there is no progress made by the US there is the risk of tightening the blockade against Qatar. Possibly, the situation may result in discussing the suspension of Qatar’s membership in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Turkey says it will try to help reach a compromise, but currently the US could play the leading role," Yeşilyurt concluded.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir attends the Arab Foreign Ministers extraordinary meeting to discuss the Syrian crisis in Cairo, on December 19, 2016 - Sputnik International
Saudi, US Foreign Ministers Discuss Qatar, Iran, Fight Against Terrorism
On June 5, a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and embargoed all sea, air and land traffic to the country, accusing Doha of supporting terrorist groups, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist movement, as well as of interfering in other countries' domestic affairs. Several other states in the region have reduced diplomatic relations with the country.

The Qatari Foreign Ministry rejected the accusations of Doha's interference in other countries' domestic affairs.

Formally, the crisis was triggered after a Qatari news agency published a statement of Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani calling for the establishment of relations with Iran and expressing support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Doha later said that the agency's website was hacked and there was no such statement from the Qatari leader. Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain did not accept the explanation. A number of other states, including Turkey and Kuwait, have been engaged in mediating the crisis.

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