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Turkey's Erdogan ends Gulf tour with no progress reported on Qatar crisis

Reuters , Monday 24 Jul 2017
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Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan left Qatar on Monday after two days in the Gulf trying to mediate in the worst row among Arab states for years but there was no sign he had made any progress.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and travel ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting Islamist militants. Doha denies that.

Turkey has been Qatar's most powerful ally in the dispute, rushing through legislation to send more troops to its base in Doha as a sign of support.

Kuwaiti and Western efforts to end the crisis have yielded little so far. The four Arab states want Qatar to reduce ties with their arch-foe Iran, close down the Turkish military base and shut the Al Jazeera TV channel, which they view as critical of their governments.

Qatari state news agency QNA said that Qatar's ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, had "reviewed regional developments, specifically the Gulf crisis and efforts to contain it and to resolve it through diplomatic means..." in talks with Erdogan.

The agency said the talks also covered joint efforts to combat terrorism and reviewed defence and economic cooperation.

Several contingents of Turkish troops with columns of armoured vehicles have arrived in Doha since the crisis erupted on June 5.

Under a 2014 agreement, Ankara could send in as many as 1,000 troops.

Turkey and Qatar have been important backers of the Muslim Brotherhood movement which is designated by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE a terrorist organisation.

Before he arrived in Qatar, Erdogan visited Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In Saudi Arabia, he discussed with King Salman "efforts to combat terrorism and its sources of funding", state news agency SPA said, without elaborating. 

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