Tuesday, March 20, 2018
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Turkey's President Erdogan hosts Qatar's emir

Turkey's leader holds talks with the Qatari emir at his presidential palace in Ankara.

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has held talks in Turkey with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his first trip abroad since the start of the Gulf diplomatic crisis.

The talks got under way on Thursday at Erdogan's presidential palace in the capital Ankara, the Turkish presidency said.

Erdogan has been a major supporter of Doha since June 5, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt cut ties and blockaded Qatar, accusing it of supporting "terrorism" and fostering ties with their rival Iran.

Qatar vehemently denies the accusations.

READ MORE: All the latest updates on the Qatar-Gulf crisis

Erdogan has strongly spoken out against the sanctions applied by the four countries.

In a show of solidarity, Turkey has also sent cargo ships and hundreds of planes loaded with food to break the blockade.

Ankara has a military base in Qatar and deployed more troops after the hostilities erupted. The closure of the Turkish base was one of 13 conditions demanded by the Saudi-led bloc.

Erdogan in July embarked on a regional tour of the Gulf countries, with visits to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar in a bid to defuse the crisis.

But his visit ended without any sign of a breakthrough and Ankara has shown signs of preferring to leave mediation efforts to Kuwait.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also hosted his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah in Ankara on Thursday.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah met Erdogan at his presidential palace.

After visiting Turkey, Qatar's emir is due to visit Berlin on Friday for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, his first trip to a western capital since the crisis began. Sheikh Tamim is also due in Paris for talks with the French president.

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