Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country will continue to support Qatar in a dispute between Doha and several other Arab countries.
“We will not abandon our Qatari brothers,” Erdogan said at the Turkish parliament on Friday, state Anadolu news agency reported.
On Monday, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, the Maldives, and Egypt broke off ties to Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism. They also suspended all land, air, and sea traffic with Qatar, ejected its diplomats, and ordered Qatari citizens to leave their respective countries.
The move is widely believed to have been spearheaded by Saudi Arabia, which often manages to have its vassal states fall into line. Saudi Arabia itself is known as the main sponsor of the violent Wahhabi terrorists that it has accused Qatar of supporting. Some analysts believe the Saudi anger is rather because Qatar acts more independently of Riyadh, including partially in its relations with Iran.
Saudi Arabia also claims that it is unnerved by Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which Ankara also backs.
Erdogan also dismissed a “blacklist” drawn up by the Arab countries opposed to Qatar and targeting certain Qatari-backed organizations as sponsors of terrorism.
“There is no such thing. I know those foundations,” Erdogan said.
Turkey “will continue to give all kinds of support to Qatar,” the Turkish president stressed.
Turkey had initially stayed neutral in the dispute involving Qatar but soon became more assertive in its support for Doha.
On Wednesday, the Turkish parliament ratified a bill to allow the deployment of Turkish troops to a Turkish base in Qatar in what has been interpreted as a sign of support for Doha. Erdogan later approved the legislation, turning it into law.
UN not to heed Saudi ‘terror list’
Also on Friday, Stephane Dujarric, who is a spokesman for the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said the world body was not bound by the “terror list” affecting Qatar Charity, the country’s biggest humanitarian body, and two other relief organizations.
“The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has over the years built strong partnerships with these organizations based on shared humanitarian principles, which are strictly non-political,” he said.
Amnesty denounces bans on Qatar
Separately, Amnesty International lamented the adverse effects of the bans imposed by the group of Arab countries on Arab people in separate countries in the region who may have familial ties.
The sanctioning countries were “toying with the lives of thousands of [Persian] Gulf residents as part of their dispute with Qatar, splitting up families and destroying peoples’ livelihoods and education,” the UK-based rights body said in a report.
“These drastic measures are already having a brutal effect, splitting children from parents and husbands from wives,” it said.
It also referred to the other negative effects of the restrictions, including economic ones. “People from across the region — not only from Qatar, but also from the states implementing these measures — risk losing jobs and having their education disrupted.”
Amnesty called on all the states involved in the dispute to “ensure their actions do not lead to human rights violations.”