In the military context, the word “retreat” means “the usually forced withdrawal of troops from an enemy or from an advanced position”. In a broader context, it is defined as “an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable”. [i] For obvious reasons, the word is anathema to politicians. They prefer expressions like “revision” or “updating” of policy. But in Türkiye, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) avoids even using such expressions as they might be conceived as an admission of error. It prefers to refer to its foreign policy reversals as “normalization of relations”. How we ended up having an abnormal state of relations with others is not an issue.
Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, in an interview with newspaper editors in Cairo in March 2018 said that Türkiye, Iran, and extremist groups represented a “triangle of evil” in the region. This was widely reported in the Egyptian press. Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Ankara issued a statement saying that MBS had mentioned not Türkiye but the Muslim Brotherhood and radical groups.
On February 19, President Biden addressed the global community for the first time. At 2021 Virtual Munich Security Conference he defined the partnership between Europe and the US as the cornerstone of all that the West hopes to accomplish in the 21st century, just as it did in the 20th century. He said, “I know — I know the past few years have strained and tested our transatlantic relationship, but the United States is determined — determined to reengage with Europe, to consult with you, to earn back our position of trusted leadership.” (emphasis added)
He expressed his strong belief that democracy will and must prevail.
With the release by Iran of Stena Tempero on Monday, the tanker dispute between Iran and the UK reached its easily predictable conclusion. But the Middle East just can’t offer its peoples a chance to breathe a sigh of relief. Thus, the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities once again put the region and the world on edge. In assigning responsibility, Washington and Riyadh point towards Tehran, the latter denies all charges. Okumaya devam et →
After “The End” in a movie comes the closing credits with the names of the director, writer, producer, leading cast, supporting cast, director of photography and others who have contributed to its making. “The End” in the Khashoggi tragedy is unlikely to come any time soon but the audience already knows the story and the leading cast.
“Statement from President Trump on Standing with Saudi Arabia” issued on November 20, 2018 summed up Washington’s position: Iran is “the world’s leading sponsor of terror” and the Saudis have been a great ally in the fight against Tehran and that is not going to change. Okumaya devam et →
Arab spring and the Syrian conflict have led some observers to look at Middle East developments through the prism of regional “rivalry” or “competition”. Countries generally mentioned are Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Israel is also prominently involved in regional affairs but the current emphasis seems to be on confrontations between Muslim countries which can’t even manage get around a table to address regional problems. Thus, all three are said to be in a “fierce struggle” for regional supremacy and the latter two for the leadership of the Sunni world. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi has provided the discussion with additional material.
There can be different paths to regional supremacy. To embark on such a path a country needs power. And, power has economic, military and political components. Okumaya devam et →
On November 2, 2018 Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin held an on-the-record briefing on Iran sanctions. The former said that these were part of the campaign aimed at depriving Tehran of the revenues that it uses to spread death and destruction around the world. The latter called Iran world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. And a few days later, in responding to a question regarding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Mr. Pompeo said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been an important partner for the U.S. in attempting to change the behavior of Iran. Okumaya devam et →
The website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs states the following on bilateral political relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia:
“Turkey has deep-rooted historical and cultural ties with Saudi Arabia and enjoys excellent relations in all fields based on friendship, fraternity, mutual respect and common interests. Being two important countries of our region and the Islamic world, Turkey and Saudi Arabia closely cooperate towards preserving regional peace and stability. Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia share the political will to further deepen their relations in all fields…”
The reality is different.
U.S. State Department fact sheet on Saudi Arabia also mentions a long-standing bilateral relationship highlighting common interests. It says:
“… Saudi Arabia’s unique role in the Arab and Islamic worlds, its possession of the world’s largest reserves of oil, and its strategic location all play a role in the long-standing bilateral relationship between the Kingdom and the United States… Saudi Arabia plays an important leadership role in working toward a peaceful and prosperous future for the region and is a strong partner in security and counterterrorism efforts, providing military, diplomatic, and financial cooperation…”
Again, the reality is different as the increasing souring of relations showed towards the end of President Obama’s second term as a result of Riyadh’s failure to convince the Obama administration that it was effectively combating extremism and the war in Yemen. President Trump’s Washington is now struggling to determine how it should handle the current crisis so that its “not so steady to start with” relationship with the Kingdom is kept on track. Okumaya devam et →
Two weeks after Jamal Khashoggi disappeared, the Turkish-Saudi “working group” finally searched the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the scene of the alleged crime.
On Monday, President Trump had a telephone conversation with King Salman and decided to send Secretary Pompeo to Riyadh. After the call, Mr. Trump said it was possible that “rogue killers” were behind the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. A Saudi official told Reuters that the King had ordered the Public Prosecutor to open an internal investigation.
Since all the facts regarding the alleged crime are unlikely to be established with speed, one may look at what has been said by key players and try to draw some conclusions. Okumaya devam et →
Jamal Khashoggi’s abduction/murder mystery must have been a nightmare for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) leadership. During the last ten years few foreign leaders have been spared from their personal attacks in times of discord. Yet, despite ups and downs, disagreements, disappointments in the effort to topple President Assad, Turkey’s leaders have not uttered a word reflecting their frustration with Riyadh’s policies. This was not because of Saudi Arabia’s money. This was because they are the “custodians of the two holy mosques”, Islam’s holiest shrines. As such, they were beyond reproach, sacrosanct. Okumaya devam et →