ANKARA – In the latest development in the lingering political crisis between the Gulf states, Turkey’s leader has sided with gas-rich Qatar, saying the sweeping ultimatum the Arab monarchies have given Doha runs “contrary to international law.”
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Speaking after a prayer at the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the sweeping ultimatum the Gulf states have put to Qatar is an attack on the country’s “sovereign rights.”
He said Turkey can “appreciate and embrace” Qatar’s resistance to the overwhelming pressure from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt.
“We consider these demands to be contrary to international law,” Erdogan said, as cited by state-run news Anadolu agency. “It is a breach of Qatar’s sovereign rights.” Erdogan also vowed to give Doha unconditional support to overcome the “many sanctions.”
An alliance led by Saudi Arabia presented Qatar with a comprehensive list of demands on Friday. The 13-point ultimatum promises that the trade embargo and diplomatic isolation of the country will end if its terms are accepted.
The demands stipulate that Qatar must close its major television network, Al-Jazeera; reduce cooperation with Saudi Arabia’s archrival, Iran; cut off contacts with Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood; and force Turkey’s military out of the country. Qatar was given ten days to comply with the demands and agree to monthly checks.
Saudi Arabia and its allies consider the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, Iran as an existential threat, and Al-Jazeera as a propaganda instrument that Qatar uses to interfere in their domestic affairs.
Doha responded the same day, saying the ultimatum was neither “reasonable” nor “realistic” and infringed on the country’s sovereignty.