Erdogan: Qatar doesn't sponsor terrorism

Turkish President insists he has never known Qatar to support terror organizations, urges Saudi Arabia to restore ties.

Ben Ariel, Canada ,

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday claimed that he has never known Qatar to give support to terror organizations, AFP reported.

His comments came after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and other states broke off relations on Monday over what they say is the emirate's financing of extremist groups as well as its ties to Iran.

On Friday, the Saudis and their allies placed several Qataris and Doha-based organizations on a terror blacklist, releasing a joint statement listing as many as 18 individuals, including members of Qatar's royal family and a former minister as involved in "terrorist" activities.

While maintaining good relations with the Gulf states, Turkey has vowed to continue to back its close ties with Qatar, which Erdogan again defended on Friday.

"They declare foundations established to provide different services as terror organizations. Something like this should not happen. I know those foundations. Until today I have not witnessed Qatar give support to terror," Erdogan said in Istanbul, according to AFP.

In addition to cutting ties, Saudi Arabia has also sealed off Qatar's only land border, a crucial lifeline for food imports.

The Turkish leader called for the "blockade" against Doha to be "completely lifted", urging Saudi Arabia to show leadership and encourage good relations in the region.

"I have a request to the Saudi administration: you are the biggest in the Gulf, the strongest... not with hostilities, you should be the leader of fraternity there, you should bring everyone together," Erdogan said.

Like Qatar, Turkey has connections to Hamas. The group has headquarters in Istanbul, which attempts to expand the group's infrastructure in Judea and Samaria. They also collect and transfer money to the Palestinian Authority for use in paying terrorists' salaries and acquiring weapons and equipment.

Erdogan said on Friday Turkey would continue to help Qatar such as exporting food and medicine to them.

"Sorry, but we will continue to give all kinds of support to Qatar," he said.

Earlier on Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump called on Qatar to stop its funding of groups that commit terrorism, saying the country had historically done so "at a very high level."

"No civilized nation can tolerate this violence or allow this wicked ideology to spread on its shores," Trump told reporters during a joint news conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)