MORE WINDS OF CHANGE AND ISOLATION OF ERDOGAN: Ghassan Kadi/Intibah Wakeup/Abdel Bari Atwan December 2014
10 December 2014
Below is an extract of Abdel-Bari Atwan’s article in Ra’i Al-Youm and which was published on Tuesday the 9th of December 2014. It was translated/interpreted by Intibah and myself.
Briefly, the recent GCC Summit has coerced Qatar back into its regional position and distancing itself from Turkey. The schism between the Gulf states had been very prominent and a few months ago the ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE left Qatar in protest of the on-going Qatari role in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and undermining the Egyptian President Al-Sisi.
The points of the article below speak for themselves, but what the article did not touch on to was the impact of this summit on Turkey given all the recent developments in and around Anatolia.
Erdogan found himself confronting major unexpected events in the last few months. To begin with, his partnership with Qatar (mainly) to topple the Syrian Government has failed abysmally. The rise of ISIS and the American pressure has put him in a state of utter dismay with his big ally, especially that the USA has been pushing the Kurdish card. This left Erdogan very unimpressed. And as if this was not enough, Vice President Biden blamed Turkey for the rise of ISIS and even though he apologized later on, the words cannot be retracted. It is possible now that the GCC summit will drive the last nail in the coffin of the Turkish-Qatari relationship.
Then came Turkey’s windfall from the collapse of the Southstream project and moving it to Turkey.
Whilst the summit does not dictate that Qatar and Turkey should no longer work together against Syria, but Turkey did not have its say as yet. It is not only for Qatar and Saudi Arabia and the rest of the GCC states to dictate to Erdogan what to do.
Ironically also, the EU is suddenly now luring Turkey to join after snubbing it for decades. Turkey no longer needs the EU. Its economy is in a much better shape than most EU states and the gas deal with Russia has linked the economies of the two countries in a manner that excludes the EU.
How will Erdogan deal with all of these changes around him? Snubbed by the EU until now, let down by the USA and dumped by Qatar.
Will Erdogan finally see the light and realize the horror of his anti-Syrian stand? Will he do a U-turn? Only time will tell, but there is one thing that we can know for sure, and that there are going to be some serious changes in the very near future.
A Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) Summit of Tuesday 9th of December 2014, was the shortest of their meetings in history and it only took two hours. It was restricted to three main speeches, the first was given by the host, Prince of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad, and the second by Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad, Prince of Kuwait and the third by Abdel-Latif al Ziyani, the GCC General Secretary.
The significance of this short summit lay in the game-changing decisions it reached and putting Qatar back on the road map by flagrantly decreeing that the GCC unconditionally supports Egyptian President Al-Sisi, thus removing the major stumbling blocked that was facing a GCC reconciliation.
The summit reached a number of commitments and changes which include the following main ones;
1. That Qatar totally abandons supporting the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), politically, financially and with their media support. This includes thwarting first and second tier leaders who live in Doha and coercing them to stop all hostile political activities towards the Egyptian government and, on top of that list is Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, the leader of the Union of Islamic Clerics;
2. Implementing a major change in the nature of the coverage of programs of Al Jazeera, particularly those related to an anti- Al-Sisi stance and to adopt a similar approach to its competitor network Al Arabiya;
3. To offer financial support and release funds that were meant to be sent to the Egyptian treasury. It is worthy here to note that Qatar has donated more than 10 billion dollars to the Egyptian government during the short presidency of Mohammed Morsi which the new Egyptian government returned to Qatar as a gesture of protest;
4. That Qatar would leave, partially or totally, its alliance with Turkey and its President Erdogan, especially in relation to the Egyptian and Libyan files, with the possibility of retaining the portfolio relating to Syria and which centres around toppling President Assad. Both Turkey and Qatar had previously supported the MB’s in Egypt and the Islamists in Libya.
This change in the Qatari position is neither surprising nor sudden. All of its details were agreed upon in the special Riyadh summit last month in which Saudi King Abdallah clearly stated that supporting Al-Sisi is the prime condition to hold the Doha summit with everyone’s participation and the return of the three Ambassadors to Qatar (Saudi, UAE and Bahrain).