Erdogan, Trump talk amid dispute over arms to Kurd fighters

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with US President Trump and Russian President Putin. (AP)
Updated 01 July 2017

Erdogan, Trump talk amid dispute over arms to Kurd fighters

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump spoke with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday regarding the diplomatic isolation of Qatar by its Gulf neighbors, whose demands include the closure of a Turkish military base in the emirate.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut off economic and diplomatic ties with Qatar earlier this month and issued an ultimatum with 13 demands, accusing Doha of supporting extremist groups. Qatar denies the claims.
The White House said Trump and Erdogan spoke about ways to overcome the crisis “while ensuring that all countries work to stop terrorist funding and to combat extremist ideology.”
“President Trump emphasized the importance of all our allies and partners increasing their efforts to fight terrorism and extremism in all its forms,” the White House statement added.
Ankara, which has close ties with Doha but also maintains good relations with other Gulf states, is seeking to mediate the crisis.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s defense minister held talks with his Turkish counterpart on Friday.
Turkish Defense Ministry officials said Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah met with his Turkey’s counterpart Fikri Isik in Ankara, but did not provide details.
Turkey shipped supplies to Doha to help ease its isolation and swiftly ratified military agreements with Qatar, allowing the deployment of soldiers to its base.


Dozens of Iraqi protestors wounded as anti-government unrest resumes

Updated 25 min 22 sec ago

Dozens of Iraqi protestors wounded as anti-government unrest resumes

  • In Baghdad’s Tayaran Square overnight, protesters threw petrol bombs and stones at police
  • Baghdad police said its forces had successfully reopened all the roads that were closed by “violent gatherings.”

BAGHDAD: Dozens of Iraqi protestors were wounded in Baghdad and other cities on Monday in clashes with security forces who were trying to clear blocked roads, security and medical sources said, as anti-government unrest resumed after a lull of several weeks.

In Baghdad’s Tayaran Square overnight, protestors threw petrol bombs and stones at police who responded with tear gas and stun grenades, Reuters witnesses said.

Elsewhere in southern Iraq, hundreds of protestors burned tires and blocked main roads in several cities, including Nassiriya, Kerbala and Amara. They say Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has not fulfilled promises including naming a new government acceptable to Iraqis.

“They (security forces) should stop shooting and aiming, who are they and who we are? Both sides are Iraqis. So why are you killing your brothers?” said one woman protestor in Baghdad who declined to give her name.

Baghdad police said its forces had successfully reopened all the roads that were closed by “violent gatherings.”

Mass protests have gripped Iraq since Oct. 1, with mostly young protesters demanding an overhaul of a political system they see as profoundly corrupt and as keeping most Iraqis in poverty. More than 450 people have been killed.

Numbers had dwindled but protests resumed last week as demonstrators sought to keep up momentum after attention turned to the threat of a US-Iran conflict following Washington’s killing of Tehran’s top general in an air strike inside Iraq.

The killing of Qassem Soleimani, to which Tehran responded with a ballistic missile attack on two Iraqi military bases, has highlighted the influence of some foreign powers in Iraq, especially Iran and the United States.