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The Saudi-UAE media attack on Erdoğan

King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz (R) is bidden farewell by Vice President of the UAE Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (L) at Dubai International Airport in Dubai on 5 December 2016 [Bandar Algaloud/Anadolu Agency]

Immediately after the end of the Special meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Summit on Jerusalem, which was called by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a number of Saudi and UAE media outlets began attacking Iran and Turkey in an unusual way.

In an interview with Quds Press, the Secretary-General of the Turkish-Arab Institute for Strategic Studies in Turkey, Badr al-Din Habib Oglu, said: “The issue of Jerusalem has affected most of the Arab regimes, the Gulf regimes in particular, specifically Saudi Arabia.”

He added that the attack makes it clear that the UAE and Saudi arabia are involved in the US-Israeli plan “which revolves around abandoning the Palestinian cause and selling Jerusalem in exchange for the strengthening Mohammed bin Salman’s rule and the imposition of a new vision in the region.”

Oglu went on “the marginalisation of Turkey in the Islamic world and pressuring it through the media are part of a US-Zionist plan that is backed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE … The reason for this attack is the that the Turkish position on the rejection of the US decision on Jerusalem, is strong and has helped to mobilise the protests on Palestinian, Arab and Islamic streets.”

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He added: “Turkey seeks to maintain a strong Palestinian, Arab and Islamic position against the US decision on Jerusalem and has not focused on Saudi Arabia. Instead, Turkey has just focused on the Zionist entity and the USA … [but] as President Erdoğan said. If we cannot protect Jerusalem today, we will not be able to protect Mecca and Medina tomorrow,” as he put it.

In an interview with Quds Press in Geneva, the Secretary-General of the Geneva Council for International Relations and Development, Anouar Gharbi, said that “the campaign against Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by some Saudi and UAE media sources does not serve the interests of the people of the Arab and Islamic region and directly damages the issue of the day; the issue of Jerusalem”.

He added: “It is a campaign that is similar to the campaign against Erdoğan in Israel, which uses extremist right-wing statements such as Israeli Minister of Intelligence and Transportation Yisrael Katz in his interview with the Saudi website Elaph.”

Gharbi called on the “reasonable and wise Saudi politicians to quickly stop their country’s fast plummet into a  quagmire.”

He said: “Saudi Arabia is today at a dangerous crossroad and its choice to be behind the UAE which is fighting all fronts to abort the dreams of Arab people in justice, dignity and freedom, is a dangerous choice that does not meet the interests of the Saudi people.”

He added: “Saudi Arabia’s choice to be against the Arab, Islamic and international concerns – some of which were expressed by Erdoğan and other leaders during the recent Islamic summit – will leave Saudi Arabia with difficulties in the future which Saudi diplomacy will not be able to deal with.”

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Al-Gharbi went on, “A number of UN reporters are currently working on files on human rights violations within the country and requests which question the ability of Saudis to protect holy sites, in addition to considering petitions which call for Saudi officials to be prosecuted for alleged war crimes in Yemen and the September attacks files as well as corruption files and claims to freeze deposits abroad.

Al-Gharbi concluded his interview with Quds Press, saying: “It is inconceivable that Saudi Arabia which is the Land of the Two Holy Mosques and the Qibla, should adopt an approach hostile to the people and, instead, serves a Zionist agenda that has become known to all for its hostility against the decisions of international legitimacy and the humiliation of the entire international community”. Saudi Arabia’s Al Riyadh newspaper published an article by Saudi writer Dr. Abdullah Nasser al-Fawzan, Monday, in which he launched a scathing attack on Iran and Turkey, which he described as “a wordy show off against Saudi Arabia.”

He said: “The Iranian president says that he has no objection to re-establish relations with us if and if, and he is delivering offensive words that the wise person refuses to mention, as if he was the one who cut the ties and we are beggars on his door, and now Erdogan, whom I do not remember that any of the rulers of the kingdom has offended or blamed in the past, and yet he continues his abuse. He used Jerusalem as a pretext and ridiculously talks about how to protect Medina, Mecca and the Kaaba from Israel and considers himself as one of its great protectors, as if he did not know that Iran, which he collaborates with, directs its rockets now by the Houthis to Mecca and the Kaaba… So, the sooner the better… Defend Mecca and the Kaaba, Oh Saviour!”

Al-Fawzan added: “We understand that the whole issue is just idle talk and falsehood. If they were serious, the Iranian president should ask Erdoğan to cut his overt relations with Israel instead of slandering us with having secret relations with Israel, and these relations are the cause of all the perils”.

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