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Saudi crown prince has declined invitations to visit Ankara for 18 months

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Amid a crisis in the Gulf over Qatar, the Sözcü daily reported on Monday that the Turkish government has been waiting for a visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for 18 months.

According to columnist Zeynep Gürcanlı, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has declined many invitations from Ankara in the last 18 months.

Gürcanlı claimed that the Turkish government is calculating a possible scenario in which Riyadh might support Kurds in Syria in retaliation for Ankara’s support for Qatar in the recent crisis in the Gulf.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with Saudi Defense Minister and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the 11th G20 Leaders’ Summit in Hangzhou, China, on Sept. 3, 2016.

In early June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen imposed a diplomatic and economic blockade on Qatar, which they accuse of supporting terrorism, including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Turkey has vowed to stand by Qatar and called on Saudi Arabia to end all sanctions.
Immediately after the countries imposed sanctions on Qatar, Turkey’s Parliament approved two agreements for deploying troops to Qatar and military cooperation. Ankara has also sent supplies, including a ship carrying 4,000 tons of food.

As Saudi Arabia has the only land border with Qatar, which was closed when the crisis began, Turkey has thus far sent 105 cargo planes of supplies to Qatar, Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi recently said.

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