16:54 GMT +319 January 2020
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    2017 Qatar Diplomatic Crisis (37)

    Recently, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. His diplomatic tour was aimed at contributing to the settlement of a major crisis in the Gulf.

    In June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates broke off diplomatic relations and communication with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs. Kuwait acting as a mediator in the crisis, handed over to Doha a 13-point ultimatum, which Qatar refused to comply with.

    Since the beginning of the crisis Turkey has also been mediating the row and providing support to the tiny Gulf state amid sanctions and an economic blockade imposed by its Arab rivals.

    Despite the fact that his two-day talks appeared to generate no immediate progress, Erdogan described his visit as "productive and successful."

    "The contacts we have made during this visit have been useful, and we will continue our efforts for the stability and peace of the region with increasing determination," Erdogan was quoted as saying by Reuters.

    According to Ferhat Pirinçi, an expert in Middle Eastern studies, Erdogan’s trip marked an important step aimed at easing the tensions in the region.

    The expert pointed out that Ankara’s settlement efforts could be explained with the fact that the Qatar crisis risks having a negative impact on Turkey’s position in the Middle East.

    "The crisis erupted at a time when the regional agenda was very complex and risks leading to negative consequences for the entire region," Pirinçi said in an interview with Sputnik Turkey.

    According to him, Turkey is playing a key role in defusing the ongoing tensions in the Gulf.

    "Turkey has significantly contributed to the settlement in which Kuwait played the leading role. Before Erdogan’s trip, Ankara held talks with parties involved, including with the West and the Gulf states. However, Erdogan’s visit indicated that Turkey is very interested in the resolution of the crisis. It is an important attempt to ease the tensions and a constructive move," Pirinçi said.

    At the same time, Turkish journalist Hüsnü Mahalli raised doubts that Erdogan’s visit could contribute to the settlement of the crisis.

    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
    © AP Photo / Yasin Bulbul, Presidential Press Service
    "Erdogan first traveled to Saudi Arabia, then to Kuwait and finally to Qatar. Such an order was a mistake. Turkey has supported Qatar since the very beginning of the crisis. Erdogan should have visited Qatar first and then delivered Doha’s message to Riyadh. Moreover, there was no special need to visit Kuwait since it is also a mediator. So, this tour, including the order of Erdogan’s stops, was not relevant," Mahalli told Sputnik Turkey.

    The journalist said that Turkey’s steps towards Qatar are the "result of a mistaken policy" because Ankara’s decision to support Doha was premature.

    "This policy creates problems. In this situation, Turkey risks repeating the same mistakes committed earlier in Syria. If Turkey had played a mediating role in Syria possibly the crisis would have already been resolved," Mahalli said.

    He added that Ankara’s decision to send troops to Qatar was wrong and unconstructive.

    "Let’s imagine that, for example, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE attack Qatar. Then Turkey would have to fight against the three countries. This is absurd," the journalist said.

    Rafet Aslantaş, director of the Institute for Strategic Studies ANKA (Ankara), said during Erdogan’s trip that Ankara only articulated its demands concerning economic cooperation and expectations over the situation in Syria and Iraq.

    At the same, according to Aslantas, Turkey is unlikely to play the decisive role in the Qatar crisis because Qatar remains in the zone of influence of the United States.

    2017 Qatar Diplomatic Crisis (37)


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    talks, visit, diplomatic crisis, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey
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