Turkish president slams Qatar isolation as ‘death penalty’

wilayattimes (Turkey)

Ankara:Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed out at the leading Arab countries which severed ties with Doha, slamming the measure as a “death sentence” against the Qatari nation.

“A very grave mistake is being made in Qatar. Isolating a nation in all areas is inhumane and against Islamic values. It is as if a death penalty decision has been taken for Qatar,” Erdogan said in a parliamentary speech to members of his ruling AK Party on TuesdErdogan praised Qatar for taking what he called “the most decisive stance” against Daesh Takfiri terrorists alongside Turkey and noted, “Victimizing Qatar through smear campaigns serves no purpose.”

Erdogan said he will discuss the current circumstances with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani through a conference call on Tuesday.

The Turkish president called on Saudi King Salman to take a leading role in resolving the crisis.

Erdogan also plans to discuss the Qatari crisis with US President Donald Trump in the coming days.

The Turkish president has pledged to continue support for Qatar and help resolve the dispute by the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, the Maldives, and Egypt recently broke off ties with Qatar. In their apparent bid to secure US support and that of Israel, the four countries cited Qatar’s links with Hamas and accused it of supporting terrorism, an accusation that the Qatari government denies.

The regional countries also blocked their transit routes to Qatar and ordered most of Qatari nationals to leave. The measures have also made family visits difficult. Qatari airways have also been banned from using the airspace of the Saudi-led bloc of countries.

On Tuesday, Amnesty International criticized the punitive measures against Qatar, saying the restrictions violate the human rights of the Qatari people.

Some analysts say the diplomatic war on Qatar is because Doha acts more independently of Riyadh in its foreign policy, including in its relations with Iran.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly met with members of the foreign ministry, ministry of military affairs, and other institutions on Monday to discuss preliminary steps to shut down the Jerusalem al-Quds bureau of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera broadcaster, as the diplomatic rift escalates between a Saudi-led bloc of countries with Qatar.

Israel has on several occasions alluded to its efforts to develop its ties with certain Arab countries. Back in January 2016, Netanyahu said during an interview with CNN that Saudi Arabia now saw Tel Aviv “as an ally rather as an enemy.”