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Erdogan visits Saudi Arabia over Gulf crisis

News - Middle East

Turkey's president to discuss Gulf crisis with Saudi king and crown prince before heading to Kuwait and Qatar.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has embarked on a two-day trip to the Gulf in an effort to help resolve the dispute between Qatar and four other Arab states.

Erdogan arrived in Saudi Arabia's port city of Jeddah on Sunday and met with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman separately.

Details about the discussions were not made public.

He will later depart for Kuwait - the main mediator in the Gulf crisis - and Qatar.

"No-one has any interest in prolonging this crisis anymore," Erdogan said at Istanbul airport before leaving.

He accused "enemies" of seeking to "fire up tensions between brothers" in the region.

Erdogan praised Qatar's behaviour in the crisis, saying it had sought to find a solution through dialogue.

"I hope our visit will be beneficial for the region," he said.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut ties with Qatar accusing it of backing extremism and fostering ties with their Shia rival Iran. Doha denies the claim and has been strongly backed by Ankara throughout the standoff.

The four countries imposed an air, sea and land blockade on Doha last month.

They also issued a list of 13 demands that included closure of a newly-opened Turkish military base.

Erdogan has said the demands are unlawful and has called for an end to the crisis, citing the need for Muslim solidarity and strong trade ties in the region.

The dispute has so far proven intractable and Erdogan has said Saudi Arabia should solve the crisis.

On Friday, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani called for dialogue to resolve the crisis but stressed that any talks must respect his country's sovereignty.

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