Saudi-led anti-Qatar alliance 'to punish Turkey for backing Doha'
Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt have reportedly been discussing taking measures against Ankara, which has sent military and food aid to the besieged Gulf emirate.
"Soon we will see harsh economic sanctions against Turkey from the Gulf states, in particular Saudi Arabia which will strike the heaviest blow to Ankara," an Egyptian source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.
"The Saudi position has appeared to accept Ankara's role as a mediator but Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has insisted on taking punitive measures," the source said, adding that Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed, discussed the sanctions during his visit to Cairo this week.
He said that Saudi-led alliance had believed that Qatar would cave in quickly to the blockade and has been surprised that Doha has taken a stand against the economic and diplomatic pressures.
The source added that the anti-Qatar alliance had thought that Turkey was not going to strongly back Qatar in the crisis out of fears of angering Riyadh, which has also been an ally of the Turkish government.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as other Arab countries, broke off relations with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting "terrorism" and leaving Doha economically and politically isolated.
But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan immediately vowed to support Qatar and vehemently rejected the accusations – already strongly denied by Doha – that Qatar supports terrorism.
Turkey on Thursday sent a first ship loaded with aid for its embattled regional ally Qatar, which has been hit by sanctions from Gulf powers led by Saudi Arabia, state media said.
Almost two dozen Turkish troops also arrived in Qatar as Ankara ramps up military support for Doha, even as it tries not to irritate Riyadh.
Turkey has already sent over 100 planes with food and other aid for Qatar, but this is the first time a cargo ship has embarked on the voyage to Doha.
On Friday, Kuwait gave Qatar a list of demands from the Saudi-led alliance that includes immediately closing Turkey's military base in Qatar.
Last week, sources told The New Arab that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has urged Gulf leaders to expand their boycott until Ankara gives up support for Qatar.
They said Sisi believes this would maintain the pressure on Doha to respond positively and help bring a speedy end to the regional siege.