Turkey: Isolation of Qatar Inhumane, Not Islamic

Qatar, a major USA ally, has been in the spotlight since four major Arab powers, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, severed their ties with the country and accused it of supporting terrorism and working secretly with Iran, the arch-foe of the Saudis.

But while strongly backing its ally Qatar, Turkey has stopped short of directly criticising Saudi Arabia's actions and called on Riyadh to take a lead role in solving the crisis. "However, Pakistan would not take sides in any event that would create divisions within the Muslim world", the daily quoted sources, as saying.

Booking.com can still be used outside Turkey to book hotels in the country.

Cavusoglu also said he would visit Kuwait later Wednesday and meet Saudi Arabian king Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud on Friday in Mecca.

Prime Minister Sharif's mediation visit to Saudi did not achieve any immediate breakthrough. "For this goal, the prime minister will undertake visits to Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey", it said. Monday, Saudi Arabia's state news agency said the move to cut ties was to "protect national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism". At the same time, however, Qatar hosts a critical US military air base with about 11,000 personnel that is used to target Islamic State.

Other diplomatic efforts have so far not been successful in defusing tensions either. The countries said there were renewed concerns that Qatar is helping to fund terrorist groups and was too close to Iran.

Despite the withdrawal, the source said Qatar would remain "an impartial diplomatic mediator" in resolving "crises and disputes between brotherly and friendly countries", and would continue to be a "major player" in the global community.

The decision by Qatar to withdraw its troops comes as the Gulf emirate is locked in a bitter dispute with Saudi Arabia and its allies over alleged ties to Islamist extremists, a charge it denies.

  • Leroy Wright