Tayyip Erdogan rejects Arab demands; Turkish troops stay in Qatar

Qatar faces the prospect of diplomatic isolation in the long-term if it does not accept the demands made by its Gulf neighbours to end the ongoing dispute, a United Arab Emirates (UAE) minister warned on Saturday.

The president said the 13-point demand list by Arab states, already rejected by Qatar, contradicted global law. Sheikh Saif Al Thani, director of Qatar's government communications office, said the list of demands falls short of Tillerson's "reasonable and actionable" test and were instead an effort to limit the country's sovereignty. "This list does not satisfy that criteria". The news agency also reported that Turkey aims to increase its military personnel in Qatar to approximately 1,000.

Qatar's ties with Iran must also be cut, including shutting down its embassy and diplomatic posts in Iran, as well as expelling any members of the IRGC in its territory.

The demands include shutting news outlets, including Al-Jazeera and its affiliates; curbing diplomatic relations with Iran and severing all ties with Islamist groups including the Muslim Brotherhood.

"We hope that Qatar will realize the consequences of its policy against the neighbouring countries and that wisdom will prevail in Doha", Gargash said.

"The state of Qatar is now studying this paper, the demands contained therein and the foundations on which they were based, in order to prepare an appropriate response to it and hand it over to the state of Kuwait", the state-run Qatar News Agency said, citing a statement by the country's Foreign Ministry.

Qatar is to draft a response to the demands and hand it over to Kuwait, which has been acting as a mediator in the conflict.

The United States said the demands on Qatar by its Mideast neighbors "will be very hard to meet".

UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Garagash yesterday accused Qatar of leaking the document of demands, which was published by Arab press several hours prior to its official release. The demands confirm that "the crisis is profound", Gargash added. Qatar, which views the action as an illegal siege, has denied the charges.

"We welcome [Qatar's position] because we consider the 13-point list against worldwide law", Erdogan was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency on Sunday.

The disagreement between Egypt and the three GCC countries and Qatar is not a matter of sovereignty but of its support for extremism and terrorism, Dr Gargash said.

The move has left Qatar, whose only land border is shared with Saudi Arabia, under a de facto blockade by its neighbours.

The diplomatic tiff, which some observers believe President Donald Trump might have encouraged through his full-throated support for Saudi Arabia during a recent visit, could threaten the future of a huge U.S. air base in Qatar.

Responding to the demands, Meshal Hamad al-Thani, Qatar's ambassador to the United States, tweeted that the list was meant to "punish Qatar for its independence".

"A lowering of rhetoric would also help ease the tension", he added.

  • Leroy Wright