January 28, 2016 Special Dispatch No. 6284

Pro-AKP 'Yeni Safak' Columnist Proposes Saudi-Pakistani-Turkish-Egyptian Alliance Against Iranian Expansionism

January 28, 2016
Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 6284

In a January 8, 2016 column titled "Iran Must Withdraw from Syria, Mursi Must Come to Turkey," in the Turkish Islamist daily Yeni Safak, which is close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AKP government, Ibrahim Karagul wrote that in order to resolve the multinational crisis in the region and to prevent a war that will last 100 years, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, and Pakistan must unite against Iran. Karagul also suggested that Saudi Arabia and Egypt must mend their ties with the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which he calls "the region's most dynamic force," echoing Erdogan's and the AKP's strong advocacy for this radical Islamist movement. This, he wrote, would make such an alliance possible, and would weaken Iran's expansionism.

In a previous column "Before Tanks Reach the Ka'ba, Before The War For Mecca Begins," published January 6, 2016, Karagul wrote about the threat posed by Iran to the Gulf states and to the Saudi kingdom.

The Turkish opposition daily Cumhuriyet reported, on January 19, 2016, that Saudi Arabia is indeed mediating between Turkey and Egypt with the aim of creating a Sunni front against Iran.

Following are excerpts from both columns, and from the Cumhuriyet report:

January 6: "Before Tanks Reach The Ka'ba, Before The War For Mecca Begins"

In his January 6 column, Karagul wrote that the predictions that Muslims will fight one another and that a war is brewing within Islam are coming true, and that the identities being taken on by countries - i.e. Shi'ite, Sunni, Alawite, and so on - that are dividing them are generating pretexts for foreign powers to invade and partition the region. An Iranian war over Mecca is on the way, he said, noting that the Muslim countries lack foresight and are incapable of standing together against the West's continuing to carry out its 100-year plan for dividing and ruling the region. Another country in the region will collapse every few years, he said, and added that the war in Syria "is not a regional war but a global war; because if it were not, fighting would be limited to the countries in the region." As soon as the war ends in Syria, he said, it will spread to the Gulf.

Warning of war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, he wrote: "I believe that Iranian tanks will arrive at the gates of the Ka'ba - and that will be a catastrophe!"

Noting that the wars in the region have always been Arab-Persian wars, and that the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq had ended with its surrendering Iraq to Iran, he added: "If the Iran-Russia invasion of Syria succeeds, Tehran will rule the entire area, all the way to the Mediterranean, and will start pushing towards Kuwait and Qatar." He underlined that this expansion has nothing to do with the Shi'a, nor with the January 2, 2016 execution by Saudi Arabia of prominent Shi'ite cleric Nimr Al-Nimr, but is connected to Persian imperialism and expansionism.

Saying that Iran's and Russia's attacks in northern Syria, and their support of the Kurds, is an attempt to suffocate Turkey and sever its ties with the Arab-Muslim world, thus rendering Ankara ineffective in the war that Iran is going to wage in the Gulf region, he wrote: "With its massive arming, and the ease it now feels thanks to the softening of its relations with the West, Iran has become an imperial power and a threat."[1]

January 8: "Iran Must Withdraw From Syria, Mursi Must Come To Turkey"

In his January 8 column, Karagul wrote that following a century of foreign powers' siege of the Middle East, a 100-year showdown is now taking place, and that the Sunni Muslims of the region must stand up and fight for the liberation of the region, and thwart the 100-year Western plan. He claims that the destructive showdown in Syria between the global powers and the Muslims is raping the countries whose attitudes towards the crisis are being shaped by the same Western powers that set the rules of the game in the first place. He wrote:

"What we face is not terrorism, but the brewing of a large storm. The reason behind Turkey's operations in its [Kurdish] southeast is not terrorism, but an attempt to bring the Syrian war into Turkey and to invade [parts of the country].

"It must be understood that we [Turks] are fighting against a multinational intervention, which goes beyond the Kurdish issue. The anti-Turkey front, the corridor forming in northern Syria, and the [Kurdish] invasion attempt inside Turkey are parts of the very same initiative. This is why we must not allow those [foreign powers] to manipulate our political wisdom and confuse our minds. The crisis we are experiencing is much deeper than the [Western powers even] comprehend. It is clear that listening to the advice of those who know nothing about our region will cost us dearly."

Karagul went on to say that the sectarian war is a diversionary tactic; the ongoing fight in Yemen between the Iran-backed Shi'ites and the Saudi-supported Sunnis is part of the same crisis, and that what he termed the military coup in Egypt, in June 2013, was a multinational initiative to prepare the ground for this regional war. He wrote: "Iran brought Russia into Syria as part of a multinational intervention. The recent surfacing of the crisis between Iran and Saudi Arabia is the crescendo of the war plans made for the region. A war that will spare no country is being served to the region [by foreign powers]."

The Gulf states and Saudi Arabia are threatened by Iran's geopolitical ambitions, he said, and added that the Saudis were to blame for this too, because of their strategic mistakes: "Saudi Arabia made itself a victim by its own mistakes, by financing the military coup in Egypt and rejecting the MB, which is the most influential political movement in the region from Sudan to Syria. In doing so, Saudi Arabia isolated itself against the Iranian threat, due to its strategic blindness, which was suicide on their part. What Riyadh needs to do is to soften its relations with the MB, to stop perceiving it as a threat, and to help resolve the crisis in Egypt. The MB will not pose a threat to Saudi monarchy."

The region is being divided into two camps: the Iran-Russia axis versus the Sunni Arab world, he said, and added that this will bring about a major war. Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan can soften this crisis and avert war, but "for this to happen, Riyadh and MB relations must soften, the Egypt-MB crisis must end, and the tensions in Turkey-Egypt relations must be lowered. Turkey and the Saudis can find a political solution for [MB leader and deposed Egyptian president Muhammad] Mursi and the MB leaders, if Egypt will dismiss all charges against them and rescinds the death sentences against them, and sends Mursi and his friends to Turkey. Then Turkey will mend its relations with Egypt, and the alliance between these four countries will weaken the Iranian threat.

"[However,] unless this is done, the war in Syria will spread to the entire region, from Turkey's [Kurdish] southeast to the Gulf, from the Red Sea to North Africa. My proposal is the only alternative to war. Iran must withdraw from Syria, Mursi and the MB leaders [in Egypt] must come to Turkey. Then the four countries can save the region from a war that will last 100 years."[2]

Cumhuriyet: Turkey-Egypt Relations Thawing Due To Saudi Mediation Efforts; Egyptian President Al-Sisi May Visit Turkey In April, If He Agrees To Free Morsi And His Men

On January 19, 2016, the Turkish opposition daily Cumhuriyet reported that Ankara-Cairo relations may be thawing due to intensive mediation efforts by Saudi Arabia. The report explained that relations between the two countries have been tense since the 2013 removal of Egyptian president Muhammad Mursi and his MB government, which Erdogan called a "coup"; Erdogan has also called the presidency of Egyptian President 'Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi "illegitimate." It added said that relations between the two countries were frozen because of Erdogan and his AKP's advocacy for and defense of the MB.

According to Cumhuriyet, the Saudis have been working to end disputes among Sunni states in order to build a Sunni alliance against the Iranian threat, which has intensified since the announcement of the JCPOA. Turkey, it said, will recognize the government of President Al-Sisi if Egypt agrees to rescind the death sentences handed down for Mursi and other MB members. If such an agreement is reached by April, Sisi may come to Turkey for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting at which Egypt's term in its rotating presidency will be transferred to Turkey.

The report said that Turkey is expected to mend ties with two more countries, the UAE and Israel. The Saudis are also mediating between Turkey and the UAE, to improve the relations that have been negatively impacted by Turkey's hostility towards Al-Sisi's Egypt since 2013, when the UAE, siding with Egypt, recalled its ambassador from Ankara.

Also according to the report, if Turkey and Israel can agree on Turkish demands for free access for Turkish shipments to Gaza, then an already-named ambassador, Can Dizdar, will assume his duties in Tel Aviv.[3]



[1] Yeni Safak, January 6, 2016.

[2] Yeni Safak, January 8, 2016.

[3] Cumhuriyet, January 19, 2016

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