Qatar crisis: The latest developments

Led by Saudi Arabia, several states in the Middle East and Africa have severed ties with Qatar. They say the gas-rich Gulf state supports terrorism and Iran, an allegation which Qatar denies.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Turkey has offered strong support to Qatar after Saudi Arabia, Egypt and several other states cut off economic and diplomatic ties.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and several other Sunni-majority countries severed relations with Qatar. They accused the tiny Gulf state of supporting terrorism, based on its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Taliban. Another point of contention was Qatar’s support of Iran, with whom it shares one of the world’s biggest gas fields.

Qatar has denied these accusations and called the collective decision "unjustified." Kuwait, Turkey and the US have all urged a political solution as the bloc continues to isolate Qatar using various ad hoc sanctions. This includes cutting off their land, sea and air travel to and from Qatar and stopping food exports to the country. 

The dispute began in May, when Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani was reported to have made statements on the state news agency supporting Iran. Doha said the statements were fabricated and was the result of a a hack (read more here). Al Jazeera reported a massive cross-platform cyberattack on June 8.

Here are the latest developments in the crisis:

June 22, Thursday

Turkey sends 4,000-ton food shipment to Qatar

A ship carrying 4,000 tons of food for beleaguered Qatar left Turkey early on Thursday.

The vessel marked a change in how essential supplies are being sent to Qatar after it departed  the western city of Izmir which housed aid planes to deliver essential supplies, such as dry food, fruits and vegetables.

So far, 105 cargo planes from Turkey have carried aid to Qatar.

Turkish troops arrive in Qatar

Turkey sent a first shipment of food supplies and a small contingent of soldiers and armoured vehicles to Qatar on Thursday, officials said.

Five armoured vehicles and 23 military personnel arrived in Doha on Thursday morning as part of the new deployment plans, Turkey's armed forces said in a statement. The statement said the move was in the framework of legal measures regarding military training and cooperation between the two countries.

Ankara fast-tracked legislation on June 7 to allow more troops to be deployed to a military base in Qatar that houses Turkish soldiers under an agreement signed in 2014.

After the deployment, a joint exercise by Turkish and Qatari forces was expected following the Islamic Eid al-Fitr holiday, Hurriyet said. The number of Turkish soldiers sent to the Gulf state could eventually reach 1,000, it said, adding that an air force contingent was also envisaged.

Some 88 Turkish soldiers were already in Qatar, according to the Hurriyet newspaper.

Qatar Airways seeks 10 percent stake in American Airlines

Qatar Airways has notified American Airlines that it wants to buy about a 10 percent stake in the US carrier, which confirmed the move Thursday in a securities filing.

Shares of American shot up 5.6 percent in pre-market trade.

The move comes as several countries in the Gulf region have suspended all flights to and from Qatar as part of the ongoing crisis.

June 21, Wednesday

Turkey's Erdogan, Saudi leaders discuss efforts to end Qatar tensions

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken by telephone with Saudi Arabia's King Salman and its new crown prince. Both sides have agreed to increase efforts to end the diplomatic standoff, sources from Erdogan's office said on Thursday.

According to the sources, Erdogan spoke with the Saudi leaders on Wednesday evening and both parties stressed their determination to strengthen Turkish-Saudi ties. Erdogan also congratulated Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his promotion.

Erdogan and King Salman have agreed to hold face-to-face talks at the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany next month.

Saudis, allies have list of demands for Qatar: US

Saudi Arabia and its allies have drawn up a list of demands that will be presented to Qatar, the US said on Wednesday. This follows President Donald Trump's conversation with the new Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"We hope the list of demands will soon be presented to Qatar and will be reasonable and actionable," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

Tillerson said Washington had been pushing for a clear list of grievances.

"Our role has been to encourage the parties to get their issues on the table, clearly articulated, so that those issues can be addressed and some resolution process can get underway to bring this to a conclusion," he said.

Qatari ruler congratulates new Saudi crown prince

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani congratulated Mohammed bin Salman on his appointment as crown prince of Saudi Arabia, state news agency, QNA said.

QNA said the Emir cabled bin Salman "wishing him success ... for the good of the kingdom under the wise leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques ... and for more progress for brotherly relations between the two brotherly countries." 

For more on Wednesday's developments, click here.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies