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Turkish, Qatari defence ministers meet amid crisis with Arab states

AP
Published : Jun 30, 2017, 8:15 pm IST
Updated : Jun 30, 2017, 8:15 pm IST

Turkey insists its troop deployment to Qatar aims to enhance regional security and is not aimed against any specific country.

Qatari premier Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani. (Photo: AFP)
 Qatari premier Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani. (Photo: AFP)

Ankara: Qatar's defense minister held talks with his Turkish counterpart on Friday as the Gulf nation's feud with four other major Arab states deepens amid a sweeping list of demands to Doha, including the closure of a Turkish military base there.

Defense Ministry officials said Qatar's Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah met with Turkey's Fikri Isik in Ankara.

Turkey is adamant to keep its base in the small Gulf Arab state and has sided with Qatar in the dispute, which saw Arab countries cut ties to Doha earlier this month, accusing it of supporting terror groups. Qatar denies the accusation.

In a sign of support, Turkey shipped supplies to Doha to help ease its isolation and swiftly ratified military agreements with Qatar, allowing the deployment of soldiers to its base. A contingent of 23 troops departed for Doha last week, joining some 90 soldiers already there.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected the four Arab nations' demand for an end to Turkish troop presence in Doha, calling it "disrespectful" and saying that Turkey would not seek permission from others over its defense cooperation agreements.

Turkey insists its troop deployment to Qatar aims to enhance regional security and is not aimed against any specific country.

Other demands presented to Qatar by the four nations - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain - include shuttering the Al-Jazeera news network and curbing diplomatic ties to Iran.

Erdogan has said the demand for Al-Jazeera's shutdown is an attempt to strip the network of its press freedom and urged rights groups to denounce the call.

Qatar denies supporting extremism and considers the demands an attempt to undermine its sovereignty.

Tags: arab states, gulf crisis, turkish military, khalid bin mohammed
Location: Turkey, Ankara, Ankara