UAE official says Turkish base in Qatar destabilises region

(Dubai) Turkey’s army in Qatar is an element of instability in the Gulf region, a senior official of the United Arab Emirates has said, adding that it contributed to negative polarisation.

The UAE and its Arab allies have imposed a boycott on Qatar since mid-2017 and had demanded that Doha close a Turkish military base, among their conditions for ending the rift. Abu Dhabi and Ankara also back opposing sides in Libya’s conflict.

“The Turkish military presence in the Arab Gulf is an emergency,” Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s state minister for foreign affairs, said on Twitter on Saturday.

“It reinforces polarisation, and it does not take into account the sovereignty of states and the interests of the Gulf countries and its people.”

The United States, seeking a united Gulf front against Iran, has tried to resolve the row in which Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and non-Gulf Egypt severed political, trade and travel links with Qatar over accusations that it backs militants and is cosying up to regional foe Iran.

Doha, which hosts the region’s largest U.S. military base, denies the accusations and says the boycott aims to impinge on its sovereignty.