Egypt’s Sisi: Turkey must be included in Qatar boycott over support for terrorist groups

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A handout picture released by the Egyptian Presidency on April 7, 2016 shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) meeting with King of Bahrain Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa (L) upon his arrival in Cairo. / AFP PHOTO

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi urged Gulf leaders to expand their boycott of Qatar to Turkey over its support to terrorist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the New Arab daily reported on Thursday.

According to a story on the London-based Middle East Monitor website, the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed (New Arab) daily reported that Al-Sisi had raised the matter during a meeting with the king of Bahrain, Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, last week in Cairo.

Sisi pushed for an expansion of the Arab boycott of Qatar to Ankara and accused Turkey of funding and hosting “terrorist groups” such as the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical groups in Syria.

The daily said the Gulf countries didn’t respond to Al-Sisi’s suggestion, however were keen to see Turkey “neutralized” from assisting Qatar in the crisis.

After Turkey approved a bill last week to send its troops to Qatar, the king of Bahrain sent his foreign minister, Khalid Bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, to Turkey to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in an attempt to ease the conflict.

Erdoğan has been a staunch critic of Al-Sisi and the current regime in Egypt since the overthrow of the first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in 2013.

On June 7, the Turkish Parliament approved legislation allowing its troops to be deployed to a Turkish military base in Qatar amid a diplomatic crisis that erupted on June 5 after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and Maldives severed relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Criticizing a joint statement by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE that placed 59 individuals and 12 organizations — Qatar-based or funded by Qatar — on a “terror list,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: “They said some foundations were established in Qatar for different purposes. That cannot happen. I know those foundations. I have never witnessed Qatar giving support to terrorism.”

Turkey will continue to give all sorts of support to Qatar,” he added.

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