Erdogan threatens to sever ties with UAE over Israel deal

By: AFP      Published: 04:41 PM, 14 Aug, 2020
Erdogan threatens to sever ties with UAE over Israel deal

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey could suspend diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates after a landmark deal between Israel and the Gulf state.

"I gave an order to the foreign minister. I said we could suspend diplomatic relations with the Abu Dhabi administration or withdraw our ambassador," Erdogan told reporters.

In the deal announced on Thursday by the US, Israel pledged to suspend its planned annexation of Palestinian lands in exchange for a normalisation of ties with the UAE.

The Palestinian Authority on Thursday announced the "immediate" recall of its ambassador to the UAE in protest at the deal.

Erdogan, a pious Muslim, is a strong advocate of Palestinian rights who has frequently criticised Israeli policies in the West Bank.

Earlier this year he criticised Washington's Middle East peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as "treason".

"History will not forget those who betray the Palestinian people and sell out the Palestinian cause," Erdogan's spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, tweeted on Friday.

"Turkey will continue to stand by the Palestinian people."

The Turkish foreign ministry earlier described the UAE-Israel deal as a hypocritical betrayal of the Palestinian cause.

Ties between the UAE and Turkey have been strained for a long time, and have especially deteriorated over the conflict in Libya where the two countries support opposing sides.

Yasin Aktay, an adviser to Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, warned that friendship with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is “more dangerous than its enmity”.

In an article published in Turkish Yeni Safak newspaper, Aktay said everyone recognises the UAE’s hostility towards Turkey believing that “it is blocking the road before Turkey”.

“The UAE’s hostility does not recognise morals or rules. They are based on intrigues, games and systematic campaigns,” he said, stressing that Ankara is trying, through its “most humane and positive policies to curb these immoral and illegal movements”.

According to the Turkish official, the UAE along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain has demanded Qatar sever trade ties with Iran in exchange for lifting the blockade imposed on Doha, at a time when the volume of trade between the UAE and Iran reached $13.5 billion.

“We have no problem with that, and let the volume of trade exchange between Islamic countries increase much more but why is Qatar the only one blamed and punished for that?” he said.

“This striking contradiction in the Emirati relations raises a question about the UAE’s loyalty and friendship with its most important Saudi ally,” he added.