TEHRAN – Utku Reyhan, the secretary-general of the nationalist Patriotic Party in Turkey, is of the opinion that West Asian countries including Iran and Turkey can form an alliance to confront common threats posed by the U.S. and its allies in the region.
“West Asian countries should come together against the USA-Israel-Saudi-UAE axis because we are facing common threats,” Reyhan tells the Tehran Times.
Turkey and some Arab states in the Persian Gulf region are caught in a diplomatic row over a range of issues including the recent move by the Emirates to normalize ties with Israel.
On August 13, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, announced the UAE’s agreement to normalize relations with Israel which sparked anger among Islamic nations and some Muslim states like Iran and Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he may sever ties with the UAE in opposition to its normalization agreement with Israel.
Reyhan also says it is a “necessity” that both Turkey and Egypt settle their disputes.
Following is the full text of the interview:
Q: Do you believe that Iran, Turkey, and some progressive Arab countries can establish a regional alliance?
A: This alliance can be established and it has already been done. West Asian countries should come together against the axis of the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates because we are facing common threats.
Q: What is the attitude of Turkey about the presence of foreign powers in the region especially in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan? What do you think of the normalization agreement between the UAE and Israel?
A: The UAE has once again demonstrated its destructive role for our region by making an agreement with Israel. It’s not surprising, frankly. They even ally with the devil for their own benefit! Our goal is a West Asia free from all external forces and influences; A region dominated by peace and mutual respect, and a common effort to fight against terrorism. Turkey is slowly coming to this line, and that is why the U.S. is trying to undermine the Erdogan government. They tried to overthrow his government and kill him. That opened Erdogan’s eyes to see the facts more clearly. Now Turkey heads towards a more region-based policy.
Q: President Erdogan announced on Friday that Turkey made its biggest-ever discovery of natural gas after completing new exploration work in the Black Sea. What will be the impact of the discovery on Turkey’s political and economic future?
A: As you said the discovery has a historic importance for Turkey. Turkey’s gas find meets its need for natural gas for 7 years. This means about 70 billion dollars. But Turkey cannot solve its energy problems by the recent discovery and the country will continue to buy natural gas. However, with the discovery of new reserves in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, the need to buy natural gas from outside may decrease over time.
It does not mean that economy of Turkey will be heavily dependent on gas, like oil-dependent countries including Saudi Arabia. Turkish industry is multidimensional.
Q: Do you see any possibility to solve problems between Turkey and Egypt?
A: This is a necessity for both countries. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a speech he gave recently, stated that Turkey is ready to meet with all countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Egypt is undoubtedly one of these countries. Turkey must attract Egypt which is now on the side of Greece and the United States. This can be done by putting aside old disputes.
Q: Given the Persian Gulf states’ attempts to confront Turkey in Libya, what is the stance of Ankara to the ceasefire in Libya? Do you expect a comprehensive solution in Libya?
A: Turkey is supporting the legitimate government in Libya. Libya and Turkey have a maritime boundary in the Mediterranean Sea.
Moreover, there are serious historical and cultural ties between the two countries.
For these reasons Turkey attempts to reinforce its ties with Libya are understandable.
We are thinking differently from the Turkish government. Turkey should attract Egypt and Syria to its side in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey should not be left alone in the eastern Mediterranean front established by U.S., Israel, Cyprus, and Greece.
Ankara should follow a policy that includes strengthening ties with Russia. In Libya, a ceasefire is necessary only to the extent that it serves Libya’s political unity.
Q: Why does Turkey enter the regional conflicts especially in Libya while it had announced before that it would follow the policy of “zero problems with neighbors?”
A: I explained above. Turkey and Libya have a maritime boundary and are neighbors with deep-rooted ties. Instead of questioning Turkey, we should ask countries such as the U.S. and Israel which do not have a maritime border with Libya.
Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/451842/West-Asian-states-should-unite-against-U-S-Israel-Saudi-UAE