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The New Arab

Turkish President Erdogan calls on Gulf states to end 'inhumane' blockade on Qatar

Erdogan has voiced support for Qatar following a Saudi-led blockade of Doha [AFP]

Date of publication: 13 June, 2017

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Saudi King Salman to show regional leadership and end the country's 'inhumane' blockade on Qatar.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed the Gulf's "inhumane" blockade of Qatar saying the action is contrary to Islamic values in a speech on Tuesday.

"Taking action to isolate a country in all areas is inhumane and un-Islamic," Erdogan said in televised comments to his party in Ankara.

It comes after Qatar's Gulf neighbours Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain broke off relations with Doha on 5 June and launched a blockade on the country, after accusing it of supporting "terrorism".

Erogan railed against the blockade saying Qatar has been subject to a "death sentence".

Turkey has been left in a delicate position with Qatar a chief Gulf ally but also enjoying good relations with Saudi Arabia.

Turkey has also maintained workable relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia's chief regional foe.

Erdogan added he would hold three-way phone talks on the crisis later Tuesday with French President Emmanuel Macron and Qatar's ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

The move by Saudi and its allies came shortly after US President Donald Trump visited Riyadh, with some analysts saying the US leader had emboldened the Saudi leadership.

Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Erdogan would also speak with US President Donald Trump this week about the crisis.

Trump has backed Saudi Arabia in the crisis, although his government appears to be more nuanced.

Turkey has sent food and dairy products to Qatar to help break the Saudi-led blockade on the country.

Erdogan has also strongly denied accusations that Qatar supports terrorism, arguing the country had been a staunch opponent of the Islamic State group. 

"Qatar is a country which, like Turkey, has adopted the most resolute stance against Daesh (IS)," said Erdogan. "Let's stop fooling ourselves."

Erdogan called on Saudi King Salman to show leadership by solving the crisis.

"I think that as the elder statesman of the Gulf, the king of Saudi Arabia should solve this affair and show leadership," said Erdogan.

Turkey's parliament last week approved the deployment of thousands of more troops to Qatar in what was seen as a show of support for its embattled ally.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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