Published: Mon, June 26, 2017
World Media | By June Phelps

Erdogan rejects Arab demands; Turkish troops stay in Qatar


Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan rejected calls from Arab nations for Turkey to close its military base in Qatar, vowing to continue to work with its Gulf-state ally in a speech today in Istanbul.

"We believe our allies and partners are stronger when they are working together towards one goal which we all agree is stopping terrorism and countering extremism", Tillerson said. He said he will not "seek permission" from other countries on the matters of defence.

Earlier, Gargash called on Western nations including the United States, France, Germany, and Britain to help monitor any agreement reached with Doha.

Erdogan on Sunday said demanding the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Qatar was a "disrespect to Turkey".

Turkey has been a powerful and outspoken regional ally of Qatar after the Arab countries cut diplomatic ties. Bahrain state news confirmed the demands on Sunday.

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Describing demands that Qatar sever ties with Iran - also included on the list - as "ridiculous", al-Heyl went on to point out that Abu Dhabi and Tehran were on relatively good terms, despite a longstanding dispute over two islands in the Arabian Gulf.

Commenting on Tillerson's remarks that some of the demands "will be very hard for Qatar to meet", Bays said: "It is an acknowledgement from the secretary of state that some of these demands are clearly not reasonable or actionable - and I think that will be an important marker coming from the US".

The president said Turkey endorsed Qatar's response to the 13 demands, which include closing the Al Jazeera satellite television network, curbing relations with Iran and shutting a Turkish base in the country.

The countries have previously suggested the demands were their bottom line, though Gargash on Saturday appeared to allow for the possibility for some negotiation facilitated by Kuwait, a council member mediating the crisis.

"If Qatar follows the path of wisdom. we would need a system of guarantees and controls" in order to implement an accord with Doha, he said, calling for "European and American guarantees".

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The story raised concerns about the closure of Al Jazeera, citizenship rights and extraditions.

Al Jazeera accused them of trying to silence freedom of expression, adding: "We assert our right to practise our journalism professionally without bowing to pressure from any government or authority".

Saudi Arabia has also sealed its land border with Qatar, thus geographically isolating it.

Doha said it is reviewing the list of demands and that a formal response will be made by the foreign ministry and delivered to Kuwait, but added that the demands are not reasonable or actionable. Qatar agreed to host a Turkish military base in 2014.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Friday that any conditions placed on Qatar should be "measured and realistic".

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