Qatar, Saudi Arabia must end the Gulf crisis without delay

THE EDITORIAL BOARD
ISTANBUL
Published 13.09.2017 00:47
Updated 13.09.2017 00:48

Last week's phone call between Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman revived hopes for a peaceful resolution of the diplomatic crisis among several Gulf countries. Moving forward, Doha and Riyadh must nurture shared interests and find ways to overcome all obstacles preventing peace and stability between their two governments and the region in general.

Since the beginning of the Gulf crisis, Turkey's position has been perfectly clear: Tensions between these two pillars of regional stability would only render the Middle East more vulnerable to outside interventions and hurt people of the region.

Time proved the Turks right: Over the past couple of months, the artificial crisis in the Gulf region severely undermined regional stability and security. Sadly, there was (and is) no actual disagreement worth fighting over. After several months of tension, all we have left is a senseless waste of time and energy. At the end of the day, tensions between regional powers only serve the interests of outsiders. The people in our part of the world desperately need stability – which can only be achieved through open dialogue and diplomacy. Diplomatic efforts could de-escalate the situation in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia's young crown prince could represent an opportunity for the Middle East if he plays his cards right. He can make a genuine contribution to regional stability provided that he is willing and able to develop a good command of diplomacy and communication. Turkey has been following his actions closely and considers his presence at this point in time a valuable opportunity for the Arab world. We have no doubt that the young crown prince is educated and smart enough to grasp nefarious efforts by outsiders to drive a wedge between regional powers in an effort to divide and exploit the Middle East. If the Saudi prince can earn the respect of powerful players in the region, he can be a force for unity.

Not only the citizens of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but also all other countries of the region, including Turkey, will appreciate any effort to bridge the gap between Ankara's two important partners.

Whom would the rapprochement between Doha and Riyadh upset? Open and honest dialogue between the two countries is most likely to frustrate certain small Arab governments that are currently enjoying their fleeting moment under the sun, the Assad regime that takes advantage of every opportunity to endure in its depravity, Iran that benefits from any division within the Arab world and Western powers that have pretended to be unsettled by the conflict whilst furthering their economic interests.

At a time of serious disorder and want, what the region and its people need the most is responsible governance coupled with the courage to challenge the established order to try something new. Both the Qatari emirate and the Saudi prince have shown their willingness to be iconoclasts to guarantee a better future for their countries. What both need to do right now is to overcome all obstacles preventing an agreement and take on the many problems besetting the region. In the future, Turkey wants to stand united with its two trusted partners in the Gulf when facing the challenges ahead.

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