it’s no secret that turkey’s relations with the united arab emirates and saudi arabia have been fraught for years in nearly every regional conflict or dispute ankara has found itself directly confronting riyadh and abu dhabi but with the uae’s push to normalize relations with israel is there something more substantial at play. Celebrating a rare alliance the united arab emirates stunned the world in august when it announced it was normalizing relations with israel the last time an arab nation recognized israel 26 years ago when jordan signed a peace treaty with the jewish state in september another arab country did the same this time bahrain and there’s talk of others following suit many have considered iran to be the target of this new alliance israel and the gulf arab states don’t hide their shared hostility towards tehran but there’s evidence to suggest these diplomatic breakthroughs are aimed at yet another country during last month’s arab league summit the uae’s foreign minister said egypt’s foreign said something similar egypt will not stand ideally by in the face of turkish ambitions that are manifesting in northern iraq syria and libya in particular the meeting was chaired by the palestinians who came to condemn the new agreement between israel and the uae but the arab league ignored them instead it decided to establish a committee to monitor what it called turkish aggression these states are usually afraid of actually not the states but leaders afraid of being challenged by soft power of the other muslim states so that’s the question once the foreign ministry of united arab emirates you know declares something against turkey i think it’s just because what turkish image is in the minds of the arabs in the overall middle east israel too seems to believe turkey is a challenge in an interview with the times newspaper the head of israel’s intelligence agency mossad said he considered turkey to be a bigger danger than iran as turkey’s reach and influence grows in the region arab states and israel appear increasingly threatened ankara backed the arab spring uprisings which upset the gulf monarchies states like the uae see any call for democracy as an existential threat turkey also has close ties with qatar which has been under a collective boycott by arab states since 2017. gulf monarchies have responded by blocking turkish news media and discouraging tourism to turkey last week the head of saudi arabia’s chamber of commerce called for turkish products to be blacklisted there’s a great competition in libya that they do not want turkey over there and also in syria so once they are against turkey in terms of military presence they have to you know create a kind of psychological environment and an embargo for the turkish goods is one way but how does being friendly with israel hurt turkey some analysts suggest the uae wants to use israel and its close ties with the us to undermine turkey with more arab nations expected to normalize relations with israel can this aim be realized. we have seen turkey rise in the middle east in north africa no doubt turkey is an ascendant player in the region i think it’s important for us to see this within the context of a decline in u.s influence throughout the region there are voids and there are vacuums in the mena regions geopolitical order and ankara has been filling some of these voids as you mentioned correctly within the gulf region there are very different perspectives on what it means for turkey to be a more powerful and more decisive actor on one hand there is qatar and also kuwait and i would also add to that the sultanate of oman which are turkey-friendly countries but we also have the united arab emirates in saudi arabia which view turkey as a major threat and so this question of turkish influence in the region is one of numerous issues that divide the gulf monarchies yes so more than any other arab gulf country vape the uae is the most committed to confronting uh turkey why what’s at stake for abu dhabi um in a broader region given its normalization of ties with israel well it’s interesting that while the uae turkey relations suffer suffer seriously there are obviously a conflict of interest in region and that’s more demonstrative in libya they both support uh you know their each other’s enemies let’s put it that way but um i think what’s interesting here is that while the uh relations deteriorating uh you find they’re getting better relations with israel signing agreements and normal under normalization you can see that they’re compromising the uh palestinian issue which is uh vitally middle east throughout a decade and but i think what is it here is very interesting uae uh in the last decade this also decided to be a major actor uh uh in the middle east whatever happening so you can find them at the syria uh supporting the regime or a thesis turning blind eye to uh what’s happening or the regime brutal brutality of the regime towards uh opposition and when it comes to uh egyptian egypt while the military food takes place turkey says that this is a military crime i mean nothing else and they said no no we’re fine with this support uh you know egyptian leadership now and in libya the same thing you have the un-supported government there so people wouldn’t kill each other and sit around the table and discuss you find a character half their supported by uae so i think i mean no one cannot possibly he wants to be have an active role in these issues but i don’t think they have a clear strategy georgia you just mentioned the declining u.s influence in middle east and elsewhere prompted abu dhabi to fill a power vacuum in the region so can we say that the united arab emirates is a partner or a strategic partner to the united states and do you think it’s a reliable partner in this respect there’s no doubt that washington and abu dhabi have an extremely close partnership this is a decades-old partnership i think it’s important to also recognize though that there are some serious conflicts of interest between the united states and uni uh united arab emirates we see this in numerous instances as colleague correctly pointed out uae supports the syrian government the uae is very open about its pro-assad stance the trump administration is imposing maximum pressure on the syrian government yes at the same time the united states supports a unified yemen while abu dhabi is trying to split yemen between north and south the u.s along with turkey recognizes the government of national accord in tripoli to be the only legitimate government in libya whereas the uae has been supporting a warlord who has been trying to overthrow that government and also the uae has been blockading qatar since 2017 and the u.s administration is trying with no success but nonetheless it’s trying to end the gcc crisis so again to answer your question of course the us and uae have a close partnership but there are definitely some sources of tension between the two countries so um vapes some are have argued that the united arab emirates and israel are working together to undermine turkey in those let’s say mentioned regions how realistic is this and what could they do well i think it’s safe to say that uh they yes they’re trying to undermine the efforts but efforts of what i mean turkey is saying that palestinian issue is important and that gaza is a world’s biggest opener prison this should change and we should help palestinians jerusalem is important for everyone as much as muslims and jews so this should be protected when it comes to libya say we shouldn’t allow the world war to take over um because you know there are a lot of serious efforts yuan committed to stop civil war stop declining situation uh in libya and same in syria etc i think turkey and uae could have been good partners for a good future of the middle east but it seems it’s not happening i’m not bothered about that i mean two countries always can have a conflict of interest in the region but what i’m trying to say is that the vision of uae seems not really very clear one thing it seems that the regimes or any movements they’re supporting is like i think self-adopted uh quite uh i think also a dangerous uh act in that view because it’s not going to take the middle east anywhere yeah of course they’re also dragging uh saudi arabia with them i mean turkey never had bad relations in the past with saudi arabia here and there we have uh some conflicts but because turkey is not a best ally with iran as well so or also they are able to take a stand like this so georgia uh the arab league ignored palestinian call uh to condemn the uae for normalizing deal with israel at that summit instead they condemned turkey so what’s next for the palestinians when saudi arabia finally normalizes relations with israel i am not so sure that saudi arabia normalizing diplomatic relations with israel is inevitable i think we have to wait and see you know the perspective from riyadh on this issue is very different from the perspective in abu dhabi or manama but nonetheless it is fair to say that arab states are moving in the direction of normalization in saudi arabia is a part of that trend i think probably we’re going to see the palestinian leadership uh especially in gaza become much more likely to give up for good on a number of arab regimes and probably become more uh consolidated in its position that the only support they can get throughout the wider islamic world is coming from iran qatar and turkey not so much arab states that have traditionally played a leadership role in the region uh one final point if i may it’s it’s very notable that while the syrian government is uh keen to emphasize that it will not normalize relations with israel until and unless the whole golan heights is returned to syria the regime in damascus did not condemn the uae israel deal this is a huge contrast from 1994 when the regime of hafez al-assad strongly condemned jordan for establishing diplomatic ties with israel that says a lot about how much damascus values its rapprochement with abu dhabi and vape very briefly we know that there have been some levels of talks between ankara and cairo but recently egypt’s foreign minister shakuri said egypt will not stand idly by the face of turkish ambitions as we just mentioned in libya iraq and especially in northern syria so what’s the end game here well first of all we should i think identify uh the turkeys or turkish uh ambitions in the region uh i think it’s quite ambiguous but i know what uh what it means because starting start of the arab spring you can find that the uh propaganda against turkey uh emerged and and had a strong place in the minds of a middle eastern population public in general this is to say that turkey represented by the erdogan have this ambition of re-establishing ottoman empire in the region so it is i mean they asked me in many times at arabic tv stations that i joined and i mean i said well guys turks know nothing about this i mean uh but it sells the idea cells very well i can see that but it’s ambiguous how how that would be possible how turkey can reestablish autumn and empire.
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