Turkey signals 'open arms' policy towards Egypt, Gulf states

Turkey signals 'open arms' policy towards Egypt, Gulf states
A new interview shows a shift in Turkey's policy towards Arab nations, indicating an attempt to strengthen the line of communication.
2 min read
08 March, 2021
Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears to be widening his net [Getty]
The Turkish president has signalled a desire to improve his country's relationship with Arab states, particularly with Egypt and certain Gulf countries.

"A new chapter can be opened, a new page can be turned in our relationship with Egypt as well as other Gulf countries to help regional peace and stability," Ibrahim Kalin, the spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said in an interview with Bloomberg on Saturday.

This signals a potential shift in Turkey's foreign policy decisions vis-à-vis the region, which has been at the centre of tensions due to a combination of political skirmishes.

The aide’s comment comes despite tensions between Egypt over the eastern Mediterranean issue, and relations are yet to thaw after Cairo accused Ankara of "interference in the internal affairs of Arab states" last week.

Ankara has had poor relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE as well as Egypt in the past few years

It sided with Qatar when those countries imposed a blockade on it in 2017. The blockade was lifted in January this year.

Turkey has also been at loggerheads with the UAE in particular over regional differences in Libya, Syria and Somalia, where they have supported rival political factions.

Tensions simmer

Turkey said on Friday that it "completely rejected" resolutions passed by an Arab League meeting in Cairo, which criticised alleged "Turkish interference in the internal affairs of Arab states."

An Arab League statement called on Ankara to withdraw its troops from Syria, Libya and Iraq, and to "desist from provocative actions that undermine confidence-building and threaten the security and stability of the region."

Turkey's foreign ministry said that the "insistence" of some Arab countries on condemning Ankara "is to cover up the subversive activities of those countries."

The ministry added that Turkey had a "principled and resolute stance", devoted to" regional and global peace and stability of security" and respected the "sovereignty, territorial integrity and political unity" of Arab countries.

It rejected the resolutions against Turkey as "baseless".

The ministry also emphasised that some of the Arab League states had noted their opposition to the decisions, which it said had been adopted "without conducting a transparent negotiation process between the member countries."

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