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Turkey urges Gulf states to end Qatar crisis

June 10, 2017

Gulf states have escalated their dispute with Qatar by accusing members of the royal family of sponsoring terrorism. Germany's top diplomat Sigmar Gabriel has warned that "dramatic" tensions could lead to a war.

A picture of Doha's skyline
Image: Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Bahrain's foreign minister that an ongoing dispute between Qatar and other Arab Gulf states must be resolved by the end of Ramadan, Islam's holy month of fasting, according to Turkey's foreign minister on Saturday.

In a joint press conference with Bahrain's foreign minister, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey would continue efforts to end a regional dispute that has sought to isolate Qatar.

Read more: Discord in the Persian Gulf: Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood

The move comes after Saudi Arabia released a list of 59 individuals it accused of sponsoring terrorism, including members of the Qatari royal family.

"Fighting terrorism and extremism is no longer a choice, rather … a commitment requiring decisive and swift action to cut off all funding sources for terrorism regardless of its financier," the official Saudi Press Agency reported, citing a government source.

Doha has vehemently denied the allegations.

Last week, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with the Gulf nation, citing terror links. The tensions have been simmering for years, with Gulf states and Egypt resenting Qatar's ties to the moderate Muslim Brotherhood movement along with its sponsorship of the pan-Arab television network Al-Jazeera.

Read more: Saudi Arabia vs. Qatar vs. Iran

Gabriel warns of war

Commenting on the crisis, Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel criticized "dramatic" moves between neighboring states and urged dialogue.

"There is a danger that this dispute turns into a war," Gabriel told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel met with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Thani on Friday to discuss the crisis
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel met with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Thani on Friday to discuss the crisisImage: Imago/photothek/T. Koehler

Gabriel added that he had spoken to colleagues from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Iran, and Kuwait about the issue.

"After having those conversations this week, I know how serious the situation is. However, I also believe there is a good chance to resolve it," he said.

Trump pressures Doha

German Chancellor Angela Merkel  also called for a political solution to the diplomatic dispute on Friday.

However, her American counterpart Donald Trump alleged that Qatar has been a "high-level" sponsor of terrorism for years. He called on Qatar to "end that funding."

The Pentagon has warned that the Gulf states' air, land and water blockade have impeded the US' ability to plan for long-term operations in the region. Qatar is a member of the US-led coalition against the self-styled Islamic State militant group.

 dj/jm (Reuters, AFP)