CHP warns AKP gov’t to stay out of Qatar crisis

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Bülent Tezcan

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on Wednesday warned Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to avoid involvement in a crisis sparked when several Gulf countries severed relations with Qatar and closed their airspace to commercial flights on Monday, charging it with financing terror groups.

At a press conference in Ankara on Wednesday in advance of a Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting, CHP Deputy Chairman Bülent Tezcan said: “We strongly recommend [the AKP government] not make statements [on the Qatar crisis]. We have to maintain our neutrality at this time. Turkey must be part of the solution, not the crisis. We recommend the [AKP] government give up its relations with İhvan (Muslim Brotherhood). Otherwise, it will end up with serious problems and disasters.”

Underlining that Turkey had made serious diplomatic mistakes when the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011 and was now paying the price, Tezcan said Turkey must maintain a neutral stance in such a diplomatic crisis in its neighboring region.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain severed relations with Qatar and closed their airspace to commercial flights on Monday, charging the Doha administration with financing militant groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Qatar strongly denies the accusations. It is the worst split between powerful Arab states in decades.

Earlier on Wednesday, Reuters reported that Qatar is in talks with Iran and Turkey to secure food and water supplies amid concerns of possible shortages two days after its biggest suppliers, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, cut trade and diplomatic ties with the import-dependent country.

Ankara’s move appears to support the Gulf Arab country when it faces diplomatic and trade isolation from some of the biggest Middle Eastern powers.

I do not approve of Qatar being seen as terror suspect. If this were the case, I would be the first president to take a stand against [Qatar],” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in Ankara on Tuesday, adding: “Here a different game is being played. We have not yet been able to find out who is behind this game.”

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