Turkey's Erdogan to discuss Qatar dispute with Trump, minister says

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed the isolation of Qatar, likening the diplomatic stranglehold of the small but wealthy peninsula by neighboring Gulf countries to "a death sentence".

"It is neither humane nor Islamic to totally isolate a country's people", Erdogan told a gathering of lawmakers from his ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara.

The comments come more than a week after a group of Arab states including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates cut trade links to Qatar, accusing the state of supporting terrorism. "Victimising Qatar through smear campaigns serves no goal", he added.

"Qatar has shown the most decisive stance against the terrorist organisation Islamic State alongside Turkey".

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir on Tuesday said the Kingdom is ready to provide food and medical aid to Qatar if needed, a week after Riyadh and other Arab capitals cut ties with their Gulf neighbor. The charge has been denied by Doha. The airspace closure was to protect the country and its citizens from anything it sees as a threat and as a precautionary measure, Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation said in a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency. The legislation was ratified by Erdogan the following day.

The president said he would conduct a trilateral teleconference call with French President Emmanuel Macron and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani later on June 13 regarding steps to resolve the Qatar diplomatic crisis.

According to the statement, reciprocal military visits have been ongoing since October 2015.

Turkey has been left in a delicate position with Qatar a chief Gulf ally but also enjoying good relations with Saudi Arabia.

Erdogan is scheduled to talk with US President Donald Trump in the coming days about Qatar situation, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday. The United Arab Emirates and Qatar have always been major proponents of open-skies policies, which remove restrictions on flying between states.

The only flight avenue open at present is through Iranian airspace.

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