DOHA - 7Turkey has dismissed as “unrealistic” demands to close a military base in Qatar as sought by a Saudi-led bloc caught up in a row with the emirate, according to reports Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the presence of Turkish troops in the gas-rich Gulf country was not connected to the ongoing crisis between the Arab countries.

“We believe this demand is both unrealistic and irrelevant,” the Turkish minister said, quoted by Qatar’s pro-government Al-Watan and Qatar Tribune newspapers.

Turkey and Qatar had signed a defence agreement in 2014, “long before the Gulf crisis”, he added. Cavusoglu also said the diplomatic impasse should be resolved without delay.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt called for the closure of the Tariq bin Ziyad camp in Doha as part of a string of conditions to end their diplomatic and political isolation of Qatar.

The Saudi-led boycott imposed a blockade on Qatar in June 2017 over allegations the emirate supports radical Islamist groups and is seeking closer ties with regional arch-rival Iran.

Qatar denies the charges, accusing its neighbours of seeking regime change.

Closure of the Turkish base was one of 13 demands made by the Saudi-led countries, as well as a call for an end to all military cooperation between Doha and Ankara.

Qatar dismissed those demands as “neither reasonable nor actionable”.

It is thought that 3,000 troops Turkish troops are on Qatari soil and that the base has a capacity for up to 5,000 military personnel.

In February, the Turkish ambassador Fikret Ozer said Turkish air and naval troops would eventually be stationed in Qatar.

Qatar and Turkey have reinforced their extremely close ties in recent years.

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani was the first foreign leader to contact Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the aborted Turkish coup in 2016.

At the beginning of the Gulf crisis, Turkey was at the forefront of nations to supply the Gulf state with food and services, following the blockade imposed by the Saudi-led nations.

Qatar also recently announced a $15 billion loan to Turkey’s fragile banking sector and also gave a luxury jumbo jet - reportedly worth around $400 million - as a “gift” to Ankara.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called for Saudi Arabia’s chief prosecutor, who was visiting the consulate in Istanbul where Jamal Khashoggi was murdered, to investigate who ordered the hit on the journalist.

Khashoggi’s death has brought near unprecedented international scrutiny on Saudi Arabia and Erdogan has pressed Riyadh to reveal the truth, including the location of the Washington Post contributor’s missing body.

The Turkish president says a 15-person team travelled from Riyadh to kill Khashoggi, who had criticised Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, after he entered the Saudi consulate on October 2.

“Who sent these 15 people? As Saudi public prosecutor, you have to ask that question, so you can reveal it,” Erdogan told reporters in Ankara on Tuesday, shortly after the head of the Saudi investigation, Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb, entered the diplomatic compound.

“Now we have to solve this case. No need to prevaricate, it makes no sense to try to save certain people,” Erdogan said.

Saudi Arabia is seeking to draw a line under the crisis after offering a series of differing narratives following the disappearance of the journalist, who was an insider in Saudi royal circles before going into self-imposed exile in the United States last year.

Mojeb travelled to Istanbul this week after being the first Saudi official to acknowledge the killing was “premeditated” based on the results of Turkey’s investigation.

He met Istanbul chief prosecutor Irfan Fidan on Monday and asked to be given the full findings of the Turkish investigation, including all images and audio recordings, Turkish broadcaster TRT reported.

The Turkish investigators rejected the request, TRT said, instead calling on the Saudi prosecutor to reveal information about the location of Khashoggi’s body.

They also repeated Erdogan’s call for the 18 suspects detained by Saudi Arabia over the murder be sent to Turkey for trial, according to TRT. Riyadh has refused the request.

Mojeb met with Fidan again on Tuesday before entering the consulate without making a statement.

Khashoggi, 59, had entered the diplomatic compound to obtain paperwork for his marriage to his Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz.

On Monday, Cengiz hit out at Donald Trump’s response to his murder, saying the US president must not let Riyadh cover up the killing.

“I am extremely disappointed by the stance of the leadership of many countries, particularly in the US,” Hatice Cengiz told a memorial event in London late Monday.

“President Trump should help reveal the truth and ensure justice be served. He should not allow my fiance’s murder to be covered up.”

She said she believed the Saudi regime knew where Khashoggi’s body was and called for the “evil criminals and their cowardly political masters” to be held to account.

Trump has called the case “one of the worst cover-ups in history”, but warned against halting a Saudi arms deal to increase the pressure, saying it would harm US jobs.

Riyadh initially insisted that Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed, but as pressure grew, Saudi state media changed the story and said Khashoggi died when an argument descended into a brawl. The Saudi leadership has since blamed a “rogue operation”.

After Khashoggi was killed, his body was reportedly given to “local co-conspirators”, and Erdogan urged Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir to identify them.

“Again either the Saudi foreign minister or the 18 suspects must explain who the local co-conspirators are,” Erdogan said.

“Let’s know who this co-conspirator is, we can shed further light.”

Beyond the detention of the 18 suspects, five Saudi intelligence chiefs have been sacked, including two who were part of Prince Mohammed’s inner circle.

The affair has tarnished the image the crown prince, the de facto leader of the oil-rich Gulf nation, who has positioned himself as a Saudi reformer.

He has denounced the murder as “repulsive” and strongly denied any involvement.