Sat Nov 18 2017, 18:25:07 +03

Erdogan push to resolve Qatar issue, urged King Salman to lead

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(Ankara-AlummahWorld-Ramadan18,1438H) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described sanctions imposed against Qatar as inhumane and non-Islamic, and calls on Gulf and Arab countries to solve the issue, Daily Sabah reported on Tuesday.

"Depriving Qatari people from food and water, travel, or worship is inhumane, non-Islamic," Erdogan said during the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) parliamentary group meeting in Ankara.

Erdogan likened the sanctions to a "death penalty" sentence for Qatar, which he deemed unacceptable.

The president also rebuffed claims that Qatar supports terrorist groups, saying that Doha, in fact, effectively fights Daesh.

"Qatar along with Turkey is a country that took the most determined stand against the terrorist organization, Daesh," said Erdogan.

Calling on Saudi Arabia to solve the recent crisis between Qatar and several other Gulf countries, Erdogan said, "The king of Saudi Arabia, as leader of the Gulf, should resolve this issue. I think that he should lead the way in resolving this crisis."

Erdogan said that he would hold a joint phone call Tuesday with French President Emmanuel Macron and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to discuss the recent developments.

He is also expected to discuss the issue with U.S. President Donald Trump in the upcoming days.

Starting June 5, Bahrain, Comoros, Egypt, Maldives, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen's internationally backed government and one of Libya's three governments cut diplomatic ties with Qatar over accusations that the Gulf nation funded militant groups – charges Doha calls baseless. Several other Muslim nations also downgraded their diplomatic ties with Qatar.

In a joint statement, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE last week also accused 59 individuals and 12 charity organizations in Qatar of having links to terrorists, local media reported.

The list included the International Union of Muslim Scholars' Egyptian chairman, Yousef el-Qaradawi, and Abdullah bin Khalid, a former Interior Minister of Qatar. The declaration was rejected by Qatari authorities.

Turkey is one of the few countries actively taking on Daesh on the ground in Syria. Having launched Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria on Aug. 24, 2016, to battle Daesh on the ground, the Turkish military liberated more than 2,000-square-kilometers from the terrorist group. The army took full control of areas that used to be recognized as Daesh strongholds such as Jarablous, Dabiq and al-Bab.

Ankara's fight against Daesh is not only limited to the operations in Syria. Since Daesh has emerged as a terrorist group in war-torn Syria. Turkey has so far detained over 5,000 Daesh suspects and deported over 3,290 foreign terrorist fighters from 95 countries, and denied more than 38,269 individuals entry to Turkey.

Qatar has also been effective in the fight against Daesh. Home to one of the biggest U.S. military bases in the region, Qatar is a significant hub in the fight against Daesh. The base has one of the longest runways in the Persian Gulf measuring at 12,500 feet. It is also an important facility that can accommodate up to 120 aircraft and can host up to 10,000 U.S. soldiers.

The Pentagon has been content with Qatar's role in the fight against terrorism as well. Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said last week that the U.S. "continues to be grateful to the Qataris for their longstanding support for our presence and their enduring commitment to regional security," adding the U.S. had no plans to alter its presence in Qatar.