Qatar says blockade is "declaration of war"

The Qatari defence minister described the blockade imposed on it by some Gulf countries as a "bloodless declaration of war."

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Qatari Minister of Defence Khaled al Attiyah will meet his Turkish counterpart Fikri Isik on Friday to discuss the issue of the Turkish base in Qatar.

Qatar's Minister of Defence Khaled al Attiyah has described a blockade imposed by several Arab states on his country as a "declaration of war". 

"This is a bloodless declaration of war," al Attiyah said in an interview with the London-based Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper published on Friday.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates abruptly cut ties with Qatar on June 5, citing Doha’s support for terrorism.

Doha denies the accusations and has rejected a 13-point list of demands it received from the four countries to restore ties.

The list of demands includes ending support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the closure of Al Jazeera television network, a downgrade of diplomatic ties with Iran and the shutdown of a Turkish military base in the emirate.

Qatar on Thursday said the list contained some demands impossible to meet because the underlying accusation was untrue.

Meeting of ministers in Turkey

Al Attiyah arrived in Ankara on Thursday for talks with Turkish officials.

He said his talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Turkish counterpart Fikri Isik on Friday are expected to focus on the issue of the Turkish base in Qatar.

"Qatar and Turkey maintain historic ties and my visit comes in the context of boosting defence cooperation between the two countries," he said.

Earlier in June, Turkey’s parliament ratified two deals on deploying troops to Qatar and training its army.

The Qatari minister also described his country's relations with the US as "strategic".

Qatar is home to the sprawling Al Udeid Air Base, which houses US Central Command, and the US Air Forces Central Command. Roughly 10,000 US troops are stationed at the Al Udeid Air Base.

"The closure of the Udeid Air Base in Qatar is absolutely out of the question," al Attiyah said.

He went on to dismiss all accusations about Qatar's support for terrorism, describing the claims as aiming to "demonise Qatar".