Column: The target is not Qatar but Saudi Arabia

Yasin AktayBY: Yasin Aktay*

 The state of isolation against Qatar that arose with the decision of some Gulf countries is actually an indication of the precursor tremors of a major mobilization to start in the region. However, just as it is not possible to say that these tremors are under the control of one country, it is also unclear who will benefit from the outcome. The difference of political engineering efforts from the fields of physics and engineering is that there are plenty of things that may not go as planned in the socio-political area.

The number of actors in the Middle East today is beyond measure. As a matter of fact, everybody has their own plan. Furthermore, the internal inconsistencies of actors that have a plan leave no room for engineering activities. Those who dig out their own foundation in such an atmosphere may wait for those they know as enemies to build on top of that foundation – or a structure that is in its final stage to suddenly be sabotaged by someone else. The U.S., which appeals to one terrorist organization against another terrorist organization, is, besides the sacrifice it is making for the love of that terrorist organization, doomed to deal with the destruction that organization will create in the future.As a matter of fact, it is not possible for the U.S. to present a consistent and strategic plan for the Middle East today. U.S. President Donald Trump’s rude attitude, which gives the impression that he is vigilant and, as a matter of fact, that he can change everything from scratch, is increasingly being negated with the resistance of the institutes, lobbies and various forces in the U.S. For example, the tweets stating that Trump is behind the Qatar issue and which gave the impression that it was carried out with permission directly from him during his Saudi Arabia visit, were negated by the U.S. Department of State within a matter of a few hours. The U.S. secretary of state said good relations with Qatar will continue, in a sense, declaring that it is not behind this isolation step.

What’s interesting is that news on Qatar’s isolation are very rarely found in U.S. press. The reason is clear: The U.S. is far too busy with its own problems right now to be bothered with any other problem, including the Middle East. Even this alone is a sign showing how much the countries in the region can trust the U.S. when making their plans.

Thus, looking at the reasons declared for the isolation applied on Qatar, it is possible to say that these reasons will, before anything else, create more trouble for those who took this step. Because what those accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism are referring to when they say terrorism is Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Yet, regardless of what anyone says about Hamas, no Muslim in the world has it in their conscience to categorize it as a terrorist group. Hamas is the most legitimate and rightful resistance against the occupation on Jerusalem and Palestine territory under Zionist occupation since 1947 and, there is no other way they can categorize it in the Muslim world other than this. There is actually an account Muslim countries that do not lay claim to the Palestinian cause as much as Hamas can give to their own people. This account can somewhat be paid with support to Hamas’s noble resistance.

Qatar is one of the rare countries that is able to pay this account and for this reason alone, it deserves appreciation in the eyes of the peoples in the Muslim world. Under this circumstance, if blaming Qatar for supporting Hamas aims to gain the U.S.’s appreciation and support, it should be known that the U.S., which is currently clueless about what it is doing, will benefit no one – it will only do harm. What’s more is that the U.S., which is supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) Syrian affiliate, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), whose terrorist operations against Turkey, its own ally, are clear, cannot be in any position to blame anybody for supporting terrorism. It appears that the U.S. is not observing any law against its on allies in particular. There is benefit for all in asking, “Which is less dangerous, the U.S.’s friendship or enmity?”

Essentially, Muslim countries need, while solving their own internal issues, is to exclude from the equation the countries outside their own. The Qatar issue is one that Muslim countries need to solve among themselves and according to us, this problem was concocted largely in an environment that aims to further destabilize the region. As a result, it will have no benefit for those who started the campaign either; it is a step that can push them into greater instability too.

Turkey’s mediation and impartiality

Despite having extremely high level relations with Qatar, Turkey tried to put out the fire from the start and assumed a role of mediator between the sides. Saudi Arabia is one of the most important elements of stability in the region and, until now, Turkey tried to refrain from any discourse that would disturb it regardless of their disputes on many issues. If you remember, the coup in Egypt was actually the first step of the great instability we are experiencing today and efforts were made to prepare a coup in Turkey with the Gezi events, simultaneously with the coup. Saudi Arabia supported the coup in Egypt, but Turkey objected to it.

Despite this, Turkey tried not to strain its relations with Saudi Arabia because it supported the Egyptian coup. Because, even though it is in the wrong path in some of its policies, a threat that may target Saudi Arabia will have a greater and negative impact on Turkey and the entire Muslim world.

Hence, regardless of all their disputes, Turkey’s relations with Saudi Arabia must always continue at the highest level.  This is important, in terms of the leading role both Turkey and Saudi Arabia are playing, for the security, peace and quality of the entire Muslim world.

Even though Turkey has assumed mediator role in the Gulf conflict, those claiming that it has taken a position in support of Qatar against Saudi Arabia are not well intentioned. There is an asymmetrical partiality and what should be done when one of the sides is about to almost eradicate the other? After one of the sides is eradicated, there will be no two sides left to mediate between anyway. Turkey is not the U.S to sell out its ally at the first opportunity that arises.

Both Turkey’s friendship and enmity are real. It should never be forgotten that Turkey strongly and openly objected to the decision process in the U.S. blaming Saudi Arabia for the September 11 attacks and stood up against the U.S. for Saudi Arabia. When it is faced with injustice, Turkey will continue to stand by Saudi Arabia, just like it is standing by Qatar, which is faced with injustice today.

By taking place in this entirely unjust campaign, Saudi Arabia is taking a great risk, which the outcome also concerns us, and the greatest display of friendship and brotherhood we can show for our friend, our sister country Saudi Arabia, is to protect it against this risk.

*Yasin Aktay is the vice chair of the ruling Justice and Development (AK Party) in Turkey.

(Published in Yeni Şafak Turkısh newspaper on June 10,  2017)