Qatar crisis 'saddens' Turkey's AKP

06.06.2017 10:25 BİRGÜN DAİLY

Six Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, along with South Asian country Maldives, have cut ties with Qatar. Although ‘support to terrorism’ is shown as the reason for this step, it has been claimed that the real reason is Qatar giving a green light to Iran.

The crisis that was caused due to claims among Arab countries of the Gulf regarding statements of Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani in support of Iran has now got deepened further. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Bahrain, Yemen, and Libya have announced their decision to cut all diplomatic relations with Qatar for the sake of their security. Shortly after, the island state Maldives also announced its decision along the same line.

While these Arab countries announced that they have closed down all of their land, sea, and air ways to Qatar, they also gave a notice for diplomats in their country from Doha to leave the countries within the next 48 hours. Furthermore, Qatar was kicked out from the international coalition in Yemen led by Saudi Arabia. Economic consequences of this decision were also felt immediately.

Abu Dabi centered Etihad Airways and Dubai centered Flydubai and Emirates firms have announced that they have frozen all of their flight to and from Doha. Saudi Arabia has launched a process of cancelling licenses of Al Jazeera and closing its offices in the country; and, it ordered for Saudi journalists working in media institutions in Qatar to return to their country.
Qatar is accused of supporting radical Islamist terrorism

While the reason of the decision was expressed as ‘Qatar’s support for terrorism’, the oil rich small island country Qatar is being accused of creating ‘instability in the region’ by supporting a variety of radical Islamist groups, including ISIL and Al Qaeda. In the decision, support of Doha government to Muslim Brothers was also mentioned.

In the statement of the coalition command published by official news agency of Saudi Arabia, SPA, the decision to discharge Qatar from the coalition was also reported. ‘Due to Qatar’s strengthening of terror in Yemen, through support to especially Al Qaeda and ISIL, and its relations with coup plotters, a decision for it to be discharged from the coalition has been taken’, the statement said.

Qatar’s foreign ministry: ‘We are greatly saddened by these accusations’

Qatar’s foreign affairs ministry rejected the accusations and said in its statement that they are ‘saddened’ by the decision for their diplomatic ties to be cut. In the written statement of the ministry, it was also noted that the decision was heard ‘in shock’ and that the accusations ‘were false claims without any ground’. As in regards to accusations on their ties with Muslim Brotherhood, the Ministry said: “Nobody can be accused of supporting terrorism while they reject resistance movements such as the Lebanese Hezbollah and Hamas and blacklist Muslim Brotherhood.”

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and UAE had also accused Qatar of interfering with their national policies back in 2014 and cut ties at that time as well.

Almost all members of the Gulf Cooperation Council cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar are one of the greatest crises experienced in the region within the past years.

Ankara was also ‘saddened’

Speaking about the crisis in Qatar after holding talks with the foreign affairs minister of Germany, Sigmar Gabriel, Turkey’s FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu gave a statement expressing their ‘sadness’ over the decision and called on keeping dialogues...

‘Turkey is ready to do all that it could in order to enable the situation get normalized’, said Çavuşoğlu.

Saudi Arabia accuses Qatar with ‘supporting terror in the Middle East’ and claims that the government in Doha has been supporting the Al Nusra and ISIL in Syria. Another accusation is on its support to Muslim Brotherhood, which is designated as a terrorist group by Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Egypt has announced that it has cut its diplomatic relations with Qatar ‘due to its hostile approach’. Like Saudi Arabia, Egypt has also accused Qatar with support to Muslim Brotherhood, both politically and financially...

The reason of Bahrain to cut ties with Qatar was stated as ‘its support to İran-backed armed groups’ and the threat posed by it against Bahrain’s national security. Bahrain has also accused Qatar with interfering with its national politics, by saying in the statement: “Terrorist activities have been triggered via media channels and an effort was put in order to create chaos in the country.”

The puppet government of Hadi in Yemen – led by Saudi Arabia – is accusing Qatar with giving ‘support to Houthis’. In their statement, the Yemeni government said ‘the support of Qatar to coup plotting Houthi militants has become obvious’.

The process that led to the crisis: support from Qatar to Iran

The first signals of the crisis were felt on the night of May 23rd when Qatar’s state-run agency QNA reported statements of Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani regarding ‘support to Iran’ in opposition to USA. In the interview of QNA, Al Thani said: ‘Building hostility towards Iran is not wise.’

Only a few hours after the interview was spread, head of the Qatar Communications Office announced that the website of QNA was under a cyber attacks and that news and interviews broadcasted from the QNA should not be taken seriously.

During a press conference held on May 25th, Qatar’s foreign affairs minister Sheikh Mohammad Bin Abdurrahman Al Thani said: “Investigations about the issue continue but it is obvious that there is a campaign against Qatar for sure. And, we are going to react to it.”

USA: ‘We support dialogue among the parties’

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson repeatedly made calls for dialogue. Saying they, as US, desire the parties in the crisis to ‘discuss their differences’, Tillerson said ‘the Gulf Cooperation Council must not be dissolved.’

Pentagon also released a statement saying its operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria will continue to be run from Qatar.

Russia: ‘It is their business’

FM of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, said in his statement: “The decision of Arab countries to cut diplomatic relations with Qatar is their own business. It is something that is about these countries’ relations. We do not interfere with these kinds of decisions.”

Iran: ‘Cutting ties do not solve any problems’

Iran asserted that cutting relations with Qatar will not help in solving the region-wide crisis. Senior Iranian official Hamid Abutalebi said: “Cutting diplomatic ties and closing the borders are not a way of solving the problem.” Abutalebi said ‘aggression and invasions will not result in anything accept for further instability.’

Israel: ‘Great opportunity’

On the other hand, Israel’s defense minister Avigdor Liberman said: “Countries that have cut relations with Qatar due to fear of terrorism of radical Islam are actually offering a great opportunity to Israel to collaborate with Arab countries in fight against radical Islam. Even the Arab countries have come down to the understanding that the risk in the region is not posed by Israel but rather by terrorism.”

Front-page article of BirGün published on 6 June 2017, Tuesday with the title of 'Major crisis in Qatar; sorrow for AKP'