ISTANBUL:Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday welcomed Qatar’s dismissal of a sweeping list of demands from Saudi Arabia and its allies in an escalating crisis and said the ultimatum was “against international law.”
“We welcome (Qatar’s position) because we consider the 13-point list against international law,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency.
Qatar on Saturday denounced the ultimatum as unreasonable and an impingement on the emirate’s sovereignty.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt want Qatar to meet the 13-point ultimatum in return for an end to a nearly three-week-old diplomatic and trade “blockade” of the emirate.
The four Arab governments delivered the demands to Qatar through mediator Kuwait on Thursday, more than two weeks after severing all ties with the emirate and imposing an embargo.
The document which has not been published but has been widely leaked includes the closure of Al-Jazeera television, a long-standing source of conflict between Doha and neighbouring countries which accuse it of fomenting regional strife.
Notably, Doha has also been told to shut a Turkish military base in the emirate.
Erdogan on Sunday said demanding the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Qatar was a “disrespect to Turkey.”
The Turkish parliament passed a bill this month allowing Ankara to send up to several thousand troops to the Turkish base in Qatar.
Since the crisis erupted between Doha and its Gulf neighbours, Erdogan has vowed to back Qatar and rejected the accusations that it supports terrorism.
But Ankara has stopped short of directly criticising Saudi Arabia’s actions, merely calling on Riyadh to take a lead role in solving the crisis.