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Turkey reverses course as mediation efforts flop in Gulf

Turkey’s immediate support of Qatar has exposed its lack of leverage with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states and left it scrambling for a way out of an intractable situation.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Turkey, May 30, 2017. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTX387H1

Turkey may have recklessly jumped into the fray on Qatar’s side in its dispute with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states without much forethought as to the medium- and long-term consequences. The realities Ankara faces on the ground, however, are forcing it to try to extricate itself from this crisis with minimal damage to its ties with Saudi Arabia and other the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was in the region last week on a tour through Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, trying to carve out a niche for Turkey as a mediator. His mission failed due to conflicting signals from Ankara.

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