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Bahrain foreign minister to visit Turkey on Saturday

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa attends the closing session of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) summit in Manama on December 7, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Bahrain’s foreign minister is scheduled to visit Turkey, Qatar’s ally, on Saturday amid a widening rift between Doha and its Persian Gulf Arab neighbors.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday that Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa would meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as well as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the "latest developments in the region."

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and the Maldives cut ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism. Qatar rejects the accusation. They also suspended all land, air, and sea traffic with Qatar, ejected its diplomats, and ordered Qatari citizens to leave.

The visit comes after Erdogan approved legislation that allows the deployment of Turkish military forces to Qatar in what has been interpreted as a sign of Ankara’s support for Doha in the face of attempts by certain Arab countries to isolate Qatar.

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Earlier on Friday, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates issued a joint statement, including a dozen organizations and 59 people with alleged links to energy-rich Qatar in what they called a terror sanctions list.

Meanwhile, the director-general of state-run Bahrain News Agency (BNA), Mohannad Sulaiman, was dismissed for contacting Qatari entities.

The director-general of state-run Bahrain News Agency, Mohannad Sulaiman

The Manama Post reported on Friday that Sulaiman, a Bahraini national of Jordanian origin, had called a Qatari entity, likely to be Qatar News Agency, to get information about the decision to cut ties. Sulaiman, who has been the head of the news agency since 2011, changed his title at his Twitter account to a journalist and the adviser of the information minister.

Commenting on his dismissal, Sulaiman sent a letter to the employees at the BNA and apologized to them for “any promise I could not keep.”

Also on Friday, Qatar’s Ambassador to Jordan Bandar bin Mohammad al-Attiyah left Amman for Doha in the wake of Jordan's downgrading diplomatic relations with Qatar.

In Gaza, demonstration in support of Qatar

In the besieged Gaza Strip, scores of Palestinians took to the streets on Friday in support of the Qatari government.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir had earlier called on Qatar to end its support for the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, as one of the conditions to normalize ties.

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