No rift between Turkey and Gulf states, says country’s UAE ambassador
DUBAI // The Turkish ambassador to the UAE has denied any diplomatic rift between his country and the Arabian Gulf states.
Vural Altay said during a conference about Nato’s approach to Gulf cooperation that he did not think there was a problem.
“I don’t think there is a gap between Turkey and the GCC and I don’t think it’s widening,” Mr Altay said at a conference on cooperation between the GCC and Nato.
“The minister of foreign affairs flew to Oman on Wednesday then to Kuwait. Recently he was in Saudi Arabia too.”
Mr Altay was responding to suggestions that Turkey was facing isolation in the region because of its apparent support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
“The Muslim Brotherhood matter is a matter of principle for Turkey and its government because there was a democratically elected president who was toppled,” he said.
Most Gulf states view the Muslim Brotherhood as a dangerously subversive transnational force whose members are more loyal to the organisation than to their countries.
Within 24 hours of Egypt’s Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, being removed from power, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait together offered US$12 billion (Dh46bn) in aid to the new government in Cairo.
Last August, Turkey said its approach to events in Egypt was based on universal democratic values.
Ibrahim Kalin, an adviser to the prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had said that his reply to the view that Turkey was isolated in the Middle East was that “this is a meritorious isolation”.
But regional experts at the conference insisted Turkey’s stance on the issue had created a serious diplomatic rift between it and the Gulf region.
“The Turkish-Gulf relationship had been on the ascendance,” said Dr Abdullah Baabood, the director of Gulf Studies at Qatar University.
“But things have changed and we can see signs that there is divergence in some views, especially in terms of what happened in Egypt, describing it as a coup. Many Gulf states don’t see it as a coup, they support it.”
Updated: October 23, 2013 04:00 AM