Turkey offers to help resolve Gulf-Qatar row

Turkey says it is ready to help defuse the diplomatic spat between Qatar and Arab nations including Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Turkey on Monday has offered to help defuse the row between Qatar and several Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, in what has become the biggest diplomatic crisis to hit the region in several years.

Ankara urged dialogue between the Gulf States, adding that issues must be resolved “peacefully”.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the severing of diplomatic ties between Qatar and five Arab countries “really saddened all of us”.

“There could be problems between the countries but dialogue must prevail under all circumstances,” Cavusoglu told reporters, adding Ankara was ready to do its best to help resolve the dispute.

“We will give any kind of support for the situation to be normalised,” he said.

Read more: What does ‘severing ties’ with Qatar actually mean?

Turkey enjoys friendly relations with Qatar – including in the energy sector – but also maintains good ties with other Gulf countries.

Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen joined Saudi Arabia and Egypt in severing relations with gas-rich Qatar, with Riyadh accusing Doha of supporting groups “that aim to destabilise the region”.

Qatar has long denied any support of extremists, and accused its Gulf neighbours of seeking to put the country under “guardianship”.

Meanwhile Iran also urged Qatar and neighbouring Guff states to engage in dialogue.

“The solution to differences between states in the region, including the current problem between Qatar and its three neighbours, is only possible through political and peaceful methods and dialogue between the parties,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said in a statement published on the ministry’s website on Monday.

The escalation is likely to have wide-ranging consequences, not just for Qatar and its citizens but around the Middle East and for Western interests.

Qatar hosts the largest US airbase in the region, which is crucial to operations against Islamic State group militants. The country is also set to host the 2022 football World Cup.

Monday’s announcement came less than a month after US President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia to cement ties with Riyadh, where he called for a united front among Muslim countries against extremism.

It also followed weeks of rising tensions between Doha and its neighbours, including Qatari accusations of a concerted media campaign against the country and the alleged hacking of the Qatar News Agency.