Turkey, Saudi Arabia discuss efforts to end Qatar rift

Agreement reached on increasing efforts to end tension between Gulf states and Qatar, sources from Erdogan’s office say.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and its new crown prince over the phone and they agreed to increase efforts to end tension related to Qatar, sources from Erdogan’s office said.

Turkey has offered strong support to Qatar after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and several other countries took measures to isolate Qatar, accusing Doha of funding terrorism and fomenting regional instability. Qatar denies the allegations.

Erdogan spoke with the Saudi leaders on Wednesday evening and “agreement was reached on increasing efforts towards ending tension in the region related to Qatar”, the sources said in a statement.

The leaders also stressed their determination to strengthen Turkish-Saudi ties, while Erdogan congratulated Mohammed bin Salman on his promotion to crown prince, the sources said before adding that Erdogan and King Salman also agreed to hold face-to-face talks at the G20 meeting in Hamburg next month.

King Salman made his son next-in-line to the throne on Wednesday, handing the 32-year-old sweeping powers as the Kingdom seeks a radical overhaul of its oil-dependent economy and faces mounting tensions with regional rival Iran.

On June 7, Turkey’s parliament fast-tracked legislation to allow troops to be deployed to a military base in Qatar, two days after Gulf countries cut ties with Doha in the worst diplomatic crisis in the region in years.

Turkish analysts talking to Al Jazeera interpreted the move as “an apparent show of support for Qatar”.

“This indeed suggests that Turkey sees its defence ties with Qatar as an indispensable pillar of its strategic posture in the region,” Can Kasapoglu, a defence analyst from Turkey’s EDAM, said.

“It also shows that Ankara would not drastically alter its long-term vision for regional fluctuations.”

Turkey has a military base in Qatar that currently houses about 90 Turkish soldiers.

The Turkish forces conducted their first training at Tariq bin Ziyad military base earlier this month in drill that had been long planned.