Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu visited Qatar on Wednesday to discuss the sanctions imposed on the Arab Gulf state by its neighbours before heading to Kuwait, where mediation efforts to end the crisis will continue.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a news conference at Ataturk International airport in Istanbul, Turkey, March 11, 2017.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a news conference at Ataturk International airport in Istanbul, Turkey, March 11, 2017. (TRT World and Agencies)

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent his top diplomat to Qatar on Wednesday in a bid to broker an end to what he has called the "inhumane behaviour" of neighbouring Gulf states in severing ties with Doha and imposing sanctions.

Turkey has backed Qatar in a dispute that has ramifications across the Middle East, from Cairo to Baghdad, and raised concerns in Washington and Moscow. Doha denies accusations by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain that it supports terrorism and courts regional rival Iran.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Qatar withdrew its troops from the border between the East African states of Djibouti and Eritrea where the Gulf state has been acting as a mediator in a border dispute. It gave no reasons for the move, but Djibouti had earlier downgraded its diplomatic ties with Qatar after the Gulf move against Doha.

The measures against Qatar, which has a population of 2.7 million people but vast gas wealth, have disrupted imports of food and other materials and caused some foreign banks to scale back business.

Qatar, which imported 80 percent of its food from bigger Gulf Arab neighbours before the diplomatic shutdown, has been talking to Iran and Turkey to secure food and water.

Qatar crisis harms Islamic world

The crisis surrounding Qatar is damaging for the Islamic world, and Turkey is working to help resolve the issue through diplomacy, Turkish President Erdogan's spokesman said.

Speaking at a press conference, Ibrahim Kalin said Turkey was sending food assistance to Qatar after neighbouring Gulf Arab states severed ties with Doha and imposed sanctions.

Kalin also said a Turkish military base in Qatar, set up before the regional spat, was established to ensure the security of the whole region and did not have an aim of any military action against any country.

Respect human rights

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain appear to be violating people's human rights by threatening to jail or fine them for expressing sympathy for Qatar, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein said.

"It is becoming clear that the measures being adopted are overly broad in scope and implementation, and have the potential to seriously disrupt the lives of thousands of women, children and men, simply because they belong to one of the nationalities involved in the dispute," Hussein said in a statement.

No demands yet Gulf Arab states have not made public the specific list of demands presented to Qatar but a journalist with the state-funded Al Jazeera network has shared a list that includes Qatar severing diplomatic ties with Iran and expelling members of the Palestinian Hamas group and the Muslim Brotherhood who live in Doha. The list of demands also includes ending support for "terrorist organisations" and ceasing "interference" in Egyptian affairs.
Source: Reuters