US urges Qatar, neighbors to 'sit together' to ease tension

US urges Qatar, neighbors to 'sit together' to ease tension

US urges Qatar, neighbors to 'sit together' to ease tension

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday welcomed Qatar's dismissal of a list of demands from Saudi Arabia and its allies and said the ultimatum was "against worldwide law". Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the media after the Eid al-Fitr prayers in Istanbul, early Sunday, June 25, 2017.

He's calling for Qatar and the other Arab countries to "sit together" to work through the list.

Hurriyet newspaper said last week a joint exercise by Turkish and Qatari forces was expected following the Islamic Eid al-Fitr holiday which started on Sunday, and the number of Turkish soldiers sent to the Gulf state could eventually reach 1,000.

Since the crisis erupted between Doha and its Gulf neighbours, Erdogan has vowed to back Qatar and rejected the accusations that it supports terrorism.

He said Turkey's withdrawal would amount to "disrespect" towards Qatar. "No offense but Turkey is not such an ordinary country [that will ask for permission]", Erdogan said.

A boycott initiated by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain was initiated on 5th June, cutting off air and sea links Qatar.

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

Doha has also been told to shut a Turkish military base in the emirate.

Bahrain's state news agency on Sunday confirmed the demands set out by un-named Gulf officials on Friday, including that Qatar close the Turkish base, end military cooperation with Ankara inside Qatar and stop supporting militant groups.

"This blockade is not aimed at fighting terrorism but at impinging on Qatar's sovereignty and interfering in its foreign policy", Sheikh Saif said. The energy-rich country said it was reviewing the ultimatum but added it would not negotiate under siege.

Erdogan called the demand that Qatar shut down Al-Jazeera an attempt to take away the network's press freedom and urged rights groups to speak out against that.

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