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The Persian Gulf and Erdogan’s Agenda

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Judging by the reaction of the Arab media, the fuss about restoring cordial relations between Turkey and the Persian Gulf countries is gradually subsiding. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed “regret” that Saudi transport planes and six F-15 fighter jets were sent to Crete to participate in a joint exercise with the Greek Air Force. This comes days after presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told Bloomberg that “a new chapter can be opened, a new page can be turned in our relationship with Egypt as well as with the Gulf countries to help regional peace and stability”.

The Dubai-based Al Bayan newspaper also commented harshly on Erdogan’s harsh statement, writing that the Turkish president’s well-known arrogance returns when he tries to tell a large country what it should or should not do. Ever since the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Saudi Arabia in January ended the boycott of Qatar by its neighbors, the Turkish, Qatari and Muslim media have been actively promoting the idea of improving Turkish-Arab relations. Some have suggested that Qatar and others will play the role of mediator to get Turkish-Saudi relations back on track, at least. But an unnamed Saudi source told Arab News that there is no Qatari mediation with Turkey and that relations between Ankara and Riyadh are direct. This is not a full-fledged diplomatic contact, as their media claim, but only at the level of intelligence, the source noted. He stressed that the Saudi authorities have not taken any action to stop the people’s blockade of Turkish goods, which has resulted in Turkish exports to the kingdom decreasing by more than 90%. Saudi Arabia’s imports from Turkey in December were 50.6 million Saudi riyals ($13.5 million), a 95% decrease from $1.02 billion a year earlier, according to the Saudi General Statistics Office. Meanwhile, trade between Saudi Arabia and Egypt, for example, is on the rise, having almost doubled since January 2020.

It should be noted that Cairo openly and actively supports the position of the Gulf states........

© New Eastern Outlook

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