Gulf Diplomatic Crisis: After Qatar, Turkey Could Be Next

"They did not come back to us since that day and even though they still didn't come back to us on this, asking Turkey to pull back its troops (from Qatar) is disrespectful against Turkey".

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt had severed diplomatic relations with Qatar accusing it of backing terrorism.

As well as cutting diplomatic ties, Qatar's neighbours closed their air space to Qatari carriers and blocked the emirate's only land border, vital for its food imports.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and its allies have issued a threatening 13-point ultimatum to Qatar as the price for lifting a two-week trade and diplomatic embargo of the country, in a marked escalation of the Gulf's worst diplomatic dispute in decades.

According to the list, Qatar must refuse to naturalize citizens from the four countries and expel those now in Qatar, in what the countries describe as an effort to keep Qatar from meddling in their internal affairs. "Qatar has implemented only one - the closure of Al-Jazeera Live Egypt. Al-Jazeera is a platform for promoting the agendas of extremist groups in the region", he added.

The Arab states which isolated Qatar earlier this month aren't seeking regime change in the country but rather, an attitude change and want all their recently delivered demands to be fulfilled by Doha, Anwar Gargash, UAE's foreign minister has said.

The countries in question claimed that Qatar supports terrorist groups such as ISIS ("Islamic State in Iraq and Syria"), al-Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood as well as the Houthi Shiite rebels in Yemen, and that Qatar threatens their national security.

Kuwait is helping mediate the dispute as is the United States, for which it has posed a challenging test since Qatar hosts a base housing the headquarters of US air power in the Middle East as well as 11,000 troops.

A demand by a group of Arab countries to close Al Jazeera Media Network is "wrong", "ridiculous" and "must be resisted", The Guardian newspaper has said in an editorial, joining a growing chorus of voices raising concerns about suppression of press freedom in the Gulf.

The last point on the list calls for the establishment of a 10-year mechanism, that would operate monthly for the first year, to ensure Qatar is complying with the agreement.

Al-Jazeera English's managing director, Giles Trendle, said it was like "Germany demanding Britain to close down the BBC", in a video posted on social media.

"Saudi Arabia can not allow Turkey to establish military bases on its territories", the statement, adding that the country "has no need for this".

Qatar was given 10 days to meet those demands, or the sanctions would continue indefinitely.

United Kingdom newspaper says attack on Al Jazeera is part of "assault on free speech to subvert the impact of media in Arab world".

Handjani said that the demands amounted to a request that Qatar give up its sovereignty.

Given the intensity of the American rebuke, it's not surprising that the coalition moved quickly to issue its 13 demands for Qatar to resolve the impasse.

The US challenge will be to gauge how ready Saudi Arabia and its allies are for real negotiations with Qatar, or whether they simply want to inflict maximum economic damage on the tiny country, and get to discussions later.

  • Carolyn Briggs