Erdogan kicks off Gulf crisis diplomacy with Saudi visit

DUBAI Jul 24: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Saudi Arabia and met King Salman on Sunday, Saudi state news agency SPA reported, his first stop on a Gulf diplomatic tour aimed at healing an Arab rift with Ankara’s ally Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties and imposed sanctions on Qatar last month, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Doha denies the charges.

The boycotting countries want Qatar to close down a Turkish base, curb relations with their arch-foe Iran and close down the Al Jazeera TV channel.

King Salman and Erdogan discussed “efforts to combat terrorism and its sources of funding,” SPA reported.

Erdogan is also scheduled to visit Kuwait, which is attempting to mediate the crisis, and Qatar during the two-day trip.