Moderate diplomacy needed in Gulf rift

Published 07.06.2017 01:31

In this conjuncture of the Gulf crisis, Turkey needs to follow a moderate policy to seek balance between the parties

One of the most serious crises of recent years is the recent decision by the Gulf states to break off relations with Qatar. This crisis not only affects the region, but also all the great powers, as there are developments that are shaped primarily through a balance of power. For Turkey, the crisis is even more important, as its relations with the two parties are crucial. So, a very important task of balancing the parties falls to Turkey. What is this Qatar crisis? What is the reason? What do the parties say and where does Turkey stand?

Qatar has been almost blockaded by Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates, led by Saudi Arabia. These countries have withdrawn their ambassadors from Qatar and asked Qatar's diplomats to leave their countries within 48 hours. They also want Qatari citizens to leave the countries within 14 days. Qatar has also been dismissed from the international coalition fighting against the Houthis in Yemen. These extremely hard sanctions are actually a reflection of the power balance in the world.

Qatar is known for its moderate policies on Iran. However, the current U.S. administration has clarified its siege policy for Iran by signing an extensive arms deal with Saudi Arabia and centralizing the country in this way. Gulf states see it as Qatar siding with Iran against the U.S.'s policy on the country, which makes Qatar a target of other Gulf states. It may seem exaggerated, but if it goes like this, Qatar will naturally become even closer to Iran. And if Qatar acts in unison with Iran, as a country with 15 billion cubic meters of oil reserves and one of the largest natural gas reserves, it can subvert balances in the Gulf region. For this reason, it is necessary for the blockading Gulf states to evaluate the consequences of their decision.

Of course, behind such a broad policy of isolation is Qatar's broadcasts about the Arab Spring that it made via Al Jazeera and its support for the Muslim Brotherhood. This makes Gulf countries uneasy, as what frightens them the most is that a rebellion like that in Egypt may be instigated in their own countries. The fact that Qatar is labeled a country that supports terrorist organizations is mainly because of its support of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar, on the other hand, is a country that has an important relationship with the West and also has an air base in its territory used by American and British aircraft. This air base is one of the operation centers of the U.S. Central Command. Therefore, isolating Qatar while it has such a position and pushing it to get closer to Iran may shake all the balances. Qatar is already conveying messages to restore relations.

With such a picture, Turkey needs to carry out moderate and crisis-resolving diplomacy between both parties. As a matter of fact, the statements made by the presidency and the Foreign Ministry show that such a line is being followed. Turkey is a country that has good relations with Qatar and is preparing to establish a military base in the country as a major regional power. For this reason, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has come into play to settle the crisis. He spoke to a large number of heads of state and government leaders and personally intervened for a resolution. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu is also holding talks with his counterparts.

The Middle East is already struggling with an inextricable crisis and it cannot endure a new one. This tension policy that will shake the balances in the world and aggravate polarization has to end soon. Turkey is the most important country for the resolution of this crisis.

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