UAE official says Turkish base in Qatar is ‘source of instability’

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - “Our region needs no regional protectors or the reinstatement of old colonial ties,” said Gargash.

DUBAI--Turkey’s army in Qatar is an element of instability in the Gulf region, a senior official of the United Arab Emirates said, adding that it contributes to negative polarisation.

The UAE and its Arab allies have imposed a boycott on Qatar since June 2017 over accusations to Doha of supporting extremists and maintaining close relations to Iran. The Arab quartet has also demanded that Qatar closes a Turkish military base said to host 5,000 troops on its soil.

“The Turkish military presence in the Arab Gulf.. reinforces polarisation, and it does not take into account the sovereignty of states and the interests of the Gulf countries and its peoples,” Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s state minister for foreign affairs, said on Twitter on Saturday.

“Let’s be clear about it: The Turkish army in Qatar is a source of instability in the region,” he emphasised.

“Our region needs no regional protectors or the reinstatement of old colonial ties,” added Gargash.

Erdogan held talks with Qatari Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Doha last Wednesday.

“The presence of Turkish troops in Qatar is to ensure peace and stability not only for Qatar but also for the Gulf region,” Erdogan told Turkish state broadcaster TRT.

But the UAE senior official  dismissed the statements of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “His statement aims to distract attention from the economic motives of the visit,” said Gargash.

Regional analysts have asserted that Erdogan relies on Qatari financing to carry out his regional military designs extending to Syria, Iraq, Libya and now the Caucasus.

The United States, seeking a united Gulf front against Iran, has tried to resolve the row in which Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and non-Gulf Egypt severed political, trade and travel links with Qatar.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is welcomed in Doha by Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani,  October  7. (AFP)

Doha, which hosts the region’s largest US military base, denies the accusations and says the boycott aims to “impinge on its sovereignty.”

On September 9, the State Department’s top diplomat for the Middle East, David Schenker, said there may be some progress in resolving the rift within weeks, citing signs of “flexibility in negotiations”, ahead of US elections. Earlier predictions of a thaw have not materialised as Doha was accused by it neighbours of being unwilling to change its policies.

Diplomats and Gulf sources have confirmed talks between Riyadh and Doha after negotiations that broke down early this year, but there have been no signs of a breakthrough.

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