July 12, 2017 / 6:43 PM / in a month

Saudi crown prince discusses defence ties with Turkish minister

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's defence minister, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, discussed military ties in a telephone call with his Turkish counterpart, Saudi state news agency SPA reported, after a new contingent of Turkish troops arrived in Qatar.

Ankara has backed Qatar in its dispute with four Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, which have imposed sanctions on Doha, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Qatar denies the charges.

SPA said that the telephone call was initiated by the Turkish minister, Fikri Isik, in which "bilateral ties, especially in the field of defence, were discussed". It gave no further details.

Qatar said on Tuesday that more Turkish troops had arrived at a military base in Doha after Ankara fast-tracked legislation last month for more soldiers to be deployed there. It gave no figures.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed sanctions on Qatar demanding it meet several demands, including that it close the Turkish military base in Doha. Qatar has rejected the demands but said it was open for talks with the four countries.

Reporting by Ali Abdelaty, writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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