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Erdoğan says Saudi king should ‘show leadership,’ solve Qatar crisis

A handout picture released by the Saudi Royal Palace shows Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (R) meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Riyadh on February 14, 2017. AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday that Saudi King Salman – the eldest statesman in the Gulf – must show leadership and solve a crisis with Qatar that erupted last week after several countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia, severed ties with Doha over its support for terrorist groups.

Speaking during the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary group meeting in Parliament on Tuesday, Erdoğan said “I think that as the elder statesman of the Gulf, the king of Saudi Arabia should demonstrate leadership and resolve this affair.”

Erdoğan also said he would take part in a trilateral teleconference with French President Emmanuel Macron and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani later on Tuesday to talk on steps to resolve the Qatar diplomatic crisis.

Criticizing the Gulf countries’ isolation of Qatar by saying it is “inhumane and against Islamic values,” Erdoğan said, “It’s as if a death penalty decision has been imposed on Qatar.”

Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said the decision taken by Gulf countries against Qatar is not isolation but a boycott.

Underlining that medical and food suppplies might be supplied to Qatar when necessary, Al-Jubeir said sanctions against Qatar are part of the sovereign rights of the Gulf countries.

Earlier on Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Erdoğan would discuss the Qatar crisis with US President Donald Trump in a telephone conversation.

A diplomatic crisis erupted between Qatar and other Gulf countries after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed relations with Doha claiming Qatar embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disrupting stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al-Qaeda, and constantly promotes the messages and schemes of these groups through their media.

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