Yet another disturbing item in what seems to be developing into a trend. A lot of diplomatic elbow grease has been going into efforts to calm the waters of the Middle East ever since Saudi Arabia and several of their allies moved to isolate Qatar over accusations of terrorist connections. This has included a rather strange warning coming from our own State Department, demanding that Saudi Arabia and the UAE show their cards in terms of specific complaints against Qatar or back off from the blacklisting activities. We don’t seem to be moving the needle very much in these negotiations, however. So now, the Tyrant of Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is trying to step in and play the role of peacemaker. (Associated Press)
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and the new crown prince to “increase efforts” to end tensions in the region related to the dispute with Qatar, Turkish officials said Thursday.
The Turkish leader called the Saudi royals late on Wednesday to congratulate them on the appointment of prince Mohammed bin Salman as the new crown prince, according to a statement from officials in Erdogan’s office.
King Salman and Erdogan also agreed to strengthen ties between Turkey and Saudi Arabia and to meet face-to-face during a G-20 summit in Germany next month, the statement said.
It would be strange indeed if Erdogan’s influence in the region has reached the point where he can start mediating disputes like this while the United States seems unable to step in and take the lead. That’s particularly true when you consider the fact that Turkey has been staunchly defending Qatar since this dispute broke out a couple of weeks ago. They are moving more troops into a base in Qatar and have already started shipping in food and medicine to them.
Meanwhile, on the more military front, local media reports that Turkey has begun moving additional tanks and other support equipment into Syria. (ANF News, English edition)
The invading Turkish army has dispatched military vehicles and trucks loaded with tanks, howitzers and ammunition into Syrian soil through al-Bab al-Hawa Border Gate.
Footage by a witness on the route of the Turkish truck convoy shows the shipment of Turkish tanks into Syria.
The Germans are currently pulling some of their own military assets out of Turkey, in a process expected to be completed by August. The Brits’ relations with Erdogan are largely in the tank as well. It’s hard to escape the sense that Erdogan has pretty much wrapped up his takeover of Turkey and is now solidifying alliances around the region with some (including Russia and Iran) while breaking faith with other, more western friendly nations.
Erdogan still has many cards to play. We’ve been watching this develop for some time now, but it appears that there’s not much anyone can do about it.