Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Erdogan’s Enmity to Saudi Arabia

Erdogan’s Enmity to Saudi Arabia

Saturday, 6 July, 2019 - 06:45
Salman Al-Dossary
Salman Al-Dossary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

The G20 summit, which ended a few days ago in Osaka, Japan, was a new blow to the dreams and of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who did not bear the size of the great Saudi presence, the momentum made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the warm welcome by world leaders.

He launched new aggressive statements, attacking the Kingdom of course through the case of the death of Jamal Khashoggi, who died everywhere except with the “Sultan”.

It was not the first time that Erdogan’s attempts to offend Saudi Arabia prevail over his efforts to strengthen his country’s presence. He repeated his old accusations and failed endeavors for the sake of one goal: to target the Kingdom and incite enmity against it with irresponsible and recurring statements from a regime accused mainly of supporting violence and terrorism, misleading its citizens and hiding under a fake democracy mantle.

The results of the municipal elections, especially in Istanbul, revealed how the old dream was lost. Dreaming of Islamic leadership, Erdogan has not been able to consolidate his internal presence, yet does not stop inciting against Saudi Arabia. Even his citizens are tired of his boring series, which did not benefit from the expertise of the Turkish drama.

But why is Erdogan insisting on the hostility against Saudi Arabia, despite its proven failure to achieve its goal?

In my opinion, there are three main reasons behind the fury of the Turkish regime: First, Erdogan’s hostility to Saudi Arabia dates back to 2010, with the events of the so-called “Arab Spring”. While he strongly supported all parties and regimes close to the Muslim Brotherhood in their coup against power, he tried in vain to jump on those revolutions. Riyadh, on the other hand, continued to support stability and did not allow regional states, such as Turkey and Iran, to influence the choices of the Arab peoples.

The second reason was that the Kingdom considered Erdogan’s hostility against it not worthy of a reaction, as it affected Ankara more than it disturbed Riyadh itself. He waited long for a response by the Kingdom, to be surprised that it does not look at a small stone while gracefully crossing over the many obstacles trying to impede its march forward.

The third reason is that his other allies - Iran and Qatar – cannot be abandoned in this critical situation, while he has no other friends left in the world.

Therefore, despite the failure of all his endeavors, plans and conspiracies, he has only to continue the path of hostility and escalation, hoping to find a response, or even a mediation, to preserve what remains of his regime, especially that his country is currently in a relatively rickety situation.

With the Iranian ally, Turkey is the smallest partner, while it faces war with the Kurds in Afrin in the north - a military operation that will probably last for years. This in addition to a terrible failure in Sudan, Libya and Syria, not to mention the abuse of tens of thousands of Turkish people and the arrest of soldiers, civilians, judges and teachers, allegedly close to Fethullah Gulen.

If we add the expected US sanctions in response to the S-400 Russian deal, and the special relations between Riyadh and Washington, unlike Ankara, whose relations have been much strained with the United States, one can only say that Turkey is in a very weak political, economic and military position, and its only option is to export its problems abroad.

It is no secret that Erdogan has Ottoman dreams to be the leader of the Muslim world. But as he ignores history and geography, he doesn’t know that he is not facing only Saudi Arabia, but also the Arab and Islamic countries.

In addition, he has become isolated by the international community because of his practices and blatant interference in the affairs of sovereign states. Thus, Erdogan’s continued hostility towards the Kingdom and its people has proved to be a wrong bet and a cheap trade. Sooner or later, he will bear the consequences of his actions.

Other opinion articles

Editor Picks