Turkey holds talks with Saudi Arabia to end blockade on Qatar

Turkey holds talks with Saudi Arabia to end blockade on Qatar
Turkey has asked Saudi Arabia to host a Turkish military base in the kingdom, as the foreign minister meets the king in Riyadh for talks on the Qatar blockade.
2 min read
17 June, 2017
Qatar has seen an influx of Turkish goods since the Gulf-blockade began [AFP]

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu travelled to Saudi Arabia on Friday for talks on ending a Gulf-led blockade on Qatar which began earlier this month.

Cavusoglu held talks with Saudi King Salman in the holy city of Mecca with diplomatic sources telling AFP that the meeting was "positive".

Turkey and Kuwait are both offering to mediate and end the Gulf's worst crisis in years, after Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar earlier this month and enforced a blockade on the country.

Other Arab countries joined the action after Riyadh claimed Qatar was supporting terrorism, allegations Doha strongly deny.

"Although the kingdom is a party in this crisis, we know that King Salman is a party in resolving it," Cavusoglu said earlier.

"We want to hear the views of Saudi Arabia regarding possible solutions and will share with them our views in a transparent way... We pay a great attention to our relations with them," he said.

A Qatari official has described the blockade as a "siege" and said the effects were worse than that on West Berlin during the Berlin Wall.

The situation has left Turkey in a difficult position, with Ankara maintaining a strong alliance with Qatar but also increasingly close with regional power Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the blockade on Qatar "inhumane and un-Islamic" and called on Riyadh to show "regional leadership" by calling off the embargo.

It comes as Turkey also seeks a military base in Saudi Arabia along with its existing one in Qatar, according to AP.

President Recept Tayyip Erdogan said told Portugeuse TV that he offered King Salman for Turkey to maintain a base in the kingdom.

Salman agreed to evaluate it, but no announcement was made since, Erdogan said.

A blockade of air, land and sea connections by Gulf countries - excluding Kuwait and Oman - have all placed extra pressure on Qatar, forcing the country to find new markets and shipping routes to source its commodities.

Many supermarkets in Qatar are currently filled with Turkish food supplies and Ankara announced plans to send hundreds more soldiers to its military base there, last week.