Qatar says deal to end Gulf crisis will not change ties with Turkey, Iran

Qatar will not modify its relationship with Turkey and Iran, suggesting that the Gulf state has made few concessions to secure a deal to end a bitter dispute with Saudi Arabia, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

“Bilateral relationships are mainly driven by a sovereign decision of the country…. (and) the national interest,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told the FT.

The agreement with Saudi Arabia and three other states covered co-operation on counter terrorism and “transnational security”, Sheikh Mohammed said.

“So, there is no effect on our relationship with any other country.”

The quartet of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt had submitted a list of 13 demands to Qatar in 2017, when they cut diplomatic and transport links with the kingdom. They included closing a Turkish military base and halting all military cooperation with Turkey.

Political relations between Doha and Ankara have gone from strength to strength over the past decade as the two governments backed Islamist militant groups in the Syria conflict and supported the Libyan government in Tripoli in a war against domestic opposition forces. Both countries, along with Iran, are leading supporters of the pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood movement, which seeks to revolutionise Arab society and gain political power. They also back Hamas against Israel.

Analysts say the UAE has been particularly reluctant to repair ties with Qatar due to concerns about the growing relationship with Turkey, the FT reported. The UAE accuses Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of meddling in the Middle East’s affairs.

Other states are expected to follow Saudi Arabia’s lead, the FT said.

“Within a week from the signing things should take the steps to come back to normal,” Sheikh Mohammed said. Hopefully “other nations will have the same political will as the Saudis, and they will find Qatar has political will to engage.”