Turkish president mulling shuttle diplomacy in Gulf

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Istanbul, July 10 (IANS) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has voiced his readiness to shuttle among the Gulf countries as a diplomatic crisis over Qatar continues unabated, the media reported.

The Turkish leader spoke of his plan to travel to the Gulf region while on his way home from a two-day G20 summit that ended on Saturday in Hamburg, Germany.

“I may have special traffic after July 15,” Erdogan was quoted as telling the journalists aboard his plane by the Hurriyet Daily News on Saunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

“I want to visit the region once again. We might contribute to the re-establishment of dialogue with a visit to the region. We are planning to visit Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in particular.”

Turkey is working to mark the first anniversary of a coup attempt by some in the military on the night of July 15 last year that was foiled just hours later but left 249 people dead.

Ankara has stood behind Doha in the ongoing diplomatic row, in which Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and some other Muslim countries cut off their diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed a blockade on it early last month.

Qatar has refused to accept a list of 13 demands put forward by Riyadh and its allies, including the closure of a Turkish military base, prompting the four countries to threaten further political, economic and legal steps against Doha.

Erdogan said he discussed the Gulf crisis with US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg, and stressed the need for a solution through dialogue.

The Turkish leader said his planned visit to the Gulf should not be taken as a mediation effort.

“Kuwait has undertaken the role as the mediator,” he said. “We support Kuwait’s mediation efforts. What I mean (by this visit) is to contribute to the re-establishment of dialogue between the parties,” he said.

–IANS

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