Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan kicked off an official trip to the GCC yesterday with a visit to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
He first went to Jeddah, where he met King Salman and new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the ongoing GCC crisis.
Prior to leaving Istanbul, Erdogan stressed it “is not in anyone’s interests” to continue the dispute.
According to Al Jazeera, he also blamed unnamed “enemies” for seeking to “fire up tensions between brothers” in the region.
Erdogan has proven to be a key ally to Qatar since the country’s neighbors closed their borders and airspace, and is expected in Doha today.
He is the fifth world leader to visit the region to help resolve the crisis. It began nearly two months ago after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE closed their borders and airspace to Qatar for political reasons.
So far, Turkey, France, the US and mediator Kuwait have all urged the Gulf states to end their fight with Qatar.
Just yesterday, the UK’s foreign secretary added his voice.
“We hope in turn Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain respond by taking steps toward lifting the embargo. This will allow substantive discussions on remaining differences to begin.”
However, the boycotting countries continue to pressure Qatar to meet several demands.
In response to a speech the Emir made over the weekend, a senior UAE official welcomed Sheikh Tamim’s call for dialogue.
تمنيت أن يكون خطاب الشيخ تميم مبادرة مراجعة ودعوة تواصل،المواقف باتت معروفة وتكرارها يعمّق الأزمة،الحوار ضروري ومطلوب ولكن عموده المراجعة.
— د. أنور قرقاش (@AnwarGargash) July 22, 2017
But he added that Qatar must make certain changes before talks can start.
That said, the UAE’s telecom providers did unblock Qatar-owned BeinSports this week, raising hopes that resolution is near.
When he visits Qatar today, Erdogan is expected to receive a warm welcome.
Turkey has supported Qatar over the past several weeks with food imports and by speeding up the deployment of Turkish troops to the country, as per a 2014 military agreement.
This will reportedly be Erdogan’s first face-to-face meeting with the Emir since the dispute began last month.