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Turkey Rejects Saudi, Allies Demand to Shut Down Qatar Base

25 June 2017

Doha has repeatedly said it was prepared to negotiate concessions if provided with a list of complaints, but only if accompanied by evidence and so long as it did not risk Qatar's independence.

On Thursday Turkey sent a small contingent of soldiers and armored vehicles to Qatar, after a fast-tracked legislation change allowed for more troops to be deployed there.

"The base in Qatar is both a Turkish base and one that will preserve the security of Qatar and the region", Isik said in an interview with broadcaster NTV.

The total number of Turkish military personnel in Qatar is now 113, according to Turkish media.

Isik, commenting on the reports that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates demanded from Doha to close Turkey's Al-Rayyan military base in Qatar, said that no country has the right to interfere in the affairs of other countries. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the list in Arabic from one of the countries involved in the dispute.

Having urged Qatar's neighbors to come up with "reasonable and actionable" demands, the USA sought to distance itself from the crisis the day after the Arab countries issued a list that included several provisions Qatar had already declared it could not or would not accept.

As the United States stepped back from any central mediating role, all sides seemed to be settling in for a potentially protracted crisis.

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The logo of al-Jazeera Media Network is seen during the annual MIPCOM television program market in Cannes, France, on October 17, 2016.

"It does seem as if this is Saudi Arabia bullying its tiny neighbor and ganging up on it", analyst Greg Barton of Australia's Deakin University told Turkey's state-funded TRT World.

According to the list, Qatar must refuse to naturalise citizens from the four countries and expel those now in Qatar, in what the countries describe as an effort to keep it from meddling in their internal affairs.

The Arab states also demanded that Qatar make a declaration against terrorist groups including Daesh and al-Qaeda, halt funding to those organizations, and hand over any individuals from those organizations in the country.

Qatar's government, for its part, is denying the allegations that it funds and harbors terrorists.

US President Donald Trump has taken a tough stance on Qatar, accusing it of being a "high level" sponsor of terrorism, but he has also offered help to the parties in the dispute to resolve their differences.

The report also warned that a prolonged dispute between Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council nations would interfere with the seamlessness of United States operations in the Gulf, especially a U.S. effort to construct a regional ballistic missile defense system to neutralize Iran's increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile force.

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-Curb diplomatic ties with Iran, and limit trade and commerce.

The list demanded Qatar to cut diplomatic ties with Iran and to kick members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard out of Qatar and cut off any joint military cooperation with Iran. Under the 2015 nuclear deal, nuclear-related sanctions on Iran were eased but other sanctions remain in place.

Cutting ties to Iran would prove incredibly hard. "Iran also has redoubled its efforts to engage not only Qatar but also Kuwait and Oman, in particular by sending several naval vessels on a port visit to Oman after the rift erupted".

"Re-evaluating the base agreement with Qatar is not on our agenda".

That presumably would mean Qatar would have to close down Al-Jazeera's English-language sister network. Or its ties to Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood?

The list also commands Qatar to stop funding publications including Middle East Eye.

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Turkey Rejects Saudi, Allies Demand to Shut Down Qatar Base