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Turkish president urges negotiations to end Gulf dispute

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged Qatar and the four other Arab countries opposing it to negotiate an end to the crisis dividing them as he wrapped up a two-day Gulf tour.

He voiced his support for mediation efforts being led by Kuwait and said initiatives under way to resolve the crisis through dialogue should continue, a presidential spokesman said.

Mr Erdogan travelled to Qatar on Monday for talks with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who has said Qatar is open to dialogue so long as it respects his country's sovereignty.

He earlier met King Salman of Saudi Arabia, which leads an anti-Qatar bloc which includes the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, before holding talks with the emir of Kuwait.

The quartet cut diplomatic ties and transport links with Qatar in early June, accusing it of supporting extremists. Qatar strongly denies the allegation and sees the dispute as politically-motivated.

Mr Erdogan's Gulf trip follows visits aimed at defusing the crisis by the top diplomats of the UK, France, Germany and the US, underscoring the depth of concern the crisis is causing well beyond the region.

Turkey has built increasingly close ties with Qatar in recent years, including opening its first military base in the Persian Gulf there last year.

More Turkish troops have arrived since the Gulf rift erupted, raising fears of an escalation with the countries seeking to isolate it.

The anti-Qatar quartet included expelling the Turkish troops as one of its list of demands to resolve the dispute.

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