MAKKAH: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu arrived in Saudi Arabia on Friday for talks with King Salman, continuing efforts to resolve the Gulf’s biggest diplomatic crisis in years.
A Turkish diplomatic source said that the minister had landed in Jeddah.
Riyadh, the UAE, Egypt and others severed diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar almost two weeks ago, accusing Doha of supporting groups, including some backed by Iran, “that aim to destabilise the region”. Qatar denies any such support for extremists.
Cavusoglu was to travel from Jeddah to Makkah where Salman is based for the last days of Ramazan, after meeting his Kuwaiti counterpart on Thursday.
The emir of Kuwait, which did not cut ties with Qatar, has also been trying to mediate.
Turkey’s chief diplomat was in Doha on Wednesday where he called for dialogue after meeting Qatar’s emir and foreign minister ahead of his Saudi stop.
“Although the kingdom is a party in this crisis, we know that King Salman is a party in resolving it,” Cavusoglu said earlier.
“We want to hear the views of Saudi Arabia regarding possible solutions and will share with them our views in a transparent way... We pay a great attention to our relations with them,” he said.
The crisis has put Turkey in a delicate position as Ankara regards Qatar as its chief ally in the Gulf but is also keen to maintain its improving ties with regional power Saudi Arabia.
At the same time, Turkey is eager to maintain workable relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s foe.
Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2017