The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has made seemingly reconciliatory moves toward Turkey after a recent regional deal ended the dispute between Qatar and the Saudi bloc in which Abu Dhabi is a key player.
Anwar Gargash, minister of state for foreign affairs and mouthpiece of de facto UAE ruler Mohammed Bin Zayed, in January made some comments that look positive at first glance.
“We want to tell Turkey that we want normal relations with it that respect mutual sovereignty,” Gargash told a Dubai-based television channel.
“We don’t have any problems with Turkey, like border issues or other such issues,” he said.
His words do not represent a sincere friendly gesture or a real desire for a cooperative relationship with Turkey.
They can be explained as a tactical move in a bid to gain time because the UAE’s persistently hostile behavior against Turkey has not yielded the results desired by Bin Zayed and his Western collaborators.
France, one of the UAE’s dubious friends that worked with Bin Zayed on an anti-Turkey agenda, is also seeking better relations with Turkey for considerations that may be different from those of the Gulf Arab boss.
Turkey unflinchingly stood by Qatar during the three years of hostility it faced from the Saudi-UAE alliance. At the same time, Turkey also countered subversion plots against its national interests in various locations.
We can say the Qatar fiasco is truly behind us even though confidence-building measures are required on the part of those who orchestrated the regional crisis based on their reckless ambitions and the support they received from the Donald Trump administration.
Trump lost the presidential post and the anti-Qatar cabal lost the plot.
But they didn’t lose their mind completely as is evident in the Qatar reconciliation deal and the manner of Gargash’s remarks.
These developments have some people excited that a new beginning can be made in relations with the UAE.
Hold your horses.
Can we really tell the UAE that all is forgotten and forgiven?
It is too early.
Turkey has to take a long-term view of its relations with Abu Dhabi. The hostile acts from the emirate are too many. Its role in the 15 July 2016 coup, which was more of an external invasion, falls in the unforgivable category.
The issue of Jerusalem and Palestinian statehood is also Turkey’s own, but the UAE and some Arab regimes see nothing wrong in sitting in Israel’s little lap.
The UAE, whether advancing its egoistic schemes or serving the interests of Turkey’s enemies, has wantonly targeted Turkish interests in many places. This was unacceptable before and it cannot be condoned now.
More generally, we must ask if the UAE can abandon its perfidious conduct in foreign relations. There are too many bad elements in whose tight grip the UAE conducts its foreign projects. In the good old days one or two large Arab countries held sway over UAE policies, but now the elements using the federation of seven emirates to sow disorder in the region are too many.
Things were rather under control when the founding president Zayed Bin Sultan was alive, but under Bin Zyaed’s leadership the UAE’s alliances serve neither the Arabs nor the wider Muslim world’s vital interests.
We can see the UAE’s pernicious effect on Egypt, where the Arab world’s largest national population doesn’t seem to matter on regional and international issues whether it is France’s onslaught against Islam, Israeli aggression or the emerging global order. UAE money is often scandalously used for spreading corruption or undermining democracy in Muslim countries. More worryingly, Abu Dhabi in a manner, which can only be described as bold stupidity, allows itself to be used by reactionary foreign leaders in suppressing the Islamic community in non-Muslim countries.
The UAE’s shenanigans in relation to the so-called Abraham Accords at the US behest to manipulate Arab countries into normalizing relations with Israel are utterly reprehensible. Its conduct can only be accepted in places where populations have been coerced or persuaded into accepting that nothing matters in life other than bread and entertainment. There can be nothing Abrahamic about faithlessness and perpetuating injustice against the Palestinian people.
Such behavior would be considered unreservedly dishonorable in Turkey. Therefore, UAE leaders must work hard on finding common interests where they can engage with Turkey.
It would be a good start on their part to give up their distaste for democracy in the Arab and Islamic world. Abu Dhabi’s rulers must also realize that Turkey’s Western tutelage phase is over and they must not align themselves with the forces uncomfortable with growing Turkish strength.
Turkey’s enemies have used terrorism as a tool to subdue Turkish national resolve. Some do it by occupying territories of Turkey’s immediate neighbors, some try to build sabotage fronts inside it. The 2016 coup attempt was the most serious manifestation of the enemy’s wickedness in recent years.
No longer can Turkey afford to drop its guard against those openly hostile or those who may potentially become Trojan Horses.