Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has issued a strong rebuke of the Saudi authored ultimatum which Riyadh has attempted to force on Qatar as a prerequisite for normalising relations. Doha has rejected the ultimatum while Saudi’s ally the UAE has suggested that a break in relations between Saudi, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt on the one hand and Qatar on the other could last for the foreseeable future.
The ultimatum made ridiculous demands for Qatar to change its internal policies and become an effective client state of Saudi Arabia, something no country would find acceptable. But beyond this, the ultimatum threatened Qatar’s bilateral relations with both Iran and Turkey.
The ultimatum demanded that Qatar immediately downgrade relations with Tehran and kick out Turkish troops from Qatar, troops which are there at the invitation of Doha.
This demand in particular infuriated Erdogan who correctly stated that such demands contravene international law.
Erdogan said of the 13 point memorandum,
“This approach of 13 demands is against international law because you cannot attack or intervene in the sovereignty of a country”.
Erdogan reaffirmed that Turkey has no plans to shut its base in Qatar and even remarked that he made a similar offer to Saudi Arabia. Erdogan described the offer in the following way,
“If Saudi Arabia wants us to have base there, a step toward this also can be taken. I made this offer to the king himself and they said they will consider this.
They did not come back to us since that day and even though they still didn’t come back to us on this, asking Turkey to pull back its troops (from Qatar) is disrespectful against Turkey”.
The entire Qatar crisis has highlighted the sheer levels of hypocrisy among leaders in the Middle East and beyond. On the one hand Saudi Arabia accuses Qatar of sponsoring terrorism, an objectively true statement as Wikileaks revealed. However, Wikileaks also showed that Saudi Arabia generously funds terrorist groups including al-Qaeda and ISIS.
Likewise, Turkey now scolds Saudi Arabia for failing to respect Qatar’s sovereignty but for years Turkey has been illegally invading and occupying Syria and Iraq. Turkey has of course occupied part of Cyprus since 1974.
Turkey is correct about Qatar’s sovereignty, it is simply mind boggling that Turkey disobeyed its own stated principles in Syria, Iraq and Cyprus.