Turkey, Saudi Arabia to try to reduce tensions over Qatar

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and the new crown prince to “increase efforts” to end tensions in the region related to the dispute with Qatar, Turkish officials said Thursday.

The Turkish leader called the Saudi royals late on Wednesday to congratulate them on the appointment of prince Mohammed bin Salman as the new crown prince, according to a statement from officials in Erdogan’s office.

King Salman and Erdogan also agreed to strengthen ties between Turkey and Saudi Arabia and to meet face-to-face during a G-20 summit in Germany next month, the statement said.

Erdogan has strongly backed Qatar in the crisis with Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations that cut off relations with Doha after accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Erdogan vowed not to leave the tiny nation isolated and Turkey’s parliament passed legislation permitting the deployment of troops to a Turkish military base in Qatar in a show of support.

Turkish media reports said a contingent of 25 soldiers would depart for Doha on Thursday to join some 90 troops already there.

Turkey is also sending food and medicines to Qatar to help end its isolation. The state-run Anadolu Agency said a vessel carrying some 4,000 tons of food left the port of Izmir, western Turkey, on Thursday.

King Salman appointed his 31-year-old son as crown prince on Wednesday, placing him first-in-line to the throne and giving him a firmer hold on the kingdom’s foreign policies.



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