Oct 13 2018

Turkey blaming Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi’s disappearance great news for Iran - Time

Turkey blaming Saudi Arabia for the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is great news for Iran, Time magazine said on Friday.

Khashoggi, a journalist critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, went missing in Istanbul on Oct. 2, after he entered the Saudi Consulate to pick up documents required for his impending marriage. 

According to Turkish officials, he was tortured and killed in the consulate and his body was subsequently carried out. 

Turkish authorities believe that a 15-man Saudi team, who arrived Istanbul the same day the journalist vanished, is responsible of Khashoggi’s murder.

According to the flight records, two corporate jets rented from a company frequently used by the Saudi government arrived in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and left separately, one leaving for Cairo and the second flying to Dubai.

Relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia have soured in recent years due to conflicting interests and policies in the Middle East. While Saudi Arabia condemns Turkey’s support for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East, Turkey has sided with Qatar in 2017 in its dispute with a Saudi-led coalition of Gulf states, including the United Arab Emirates. 

Turkey also supported Egypt’s democratically elected president Mohamad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who was ousted by a military coup, while Saudi Arabia backed the Egypt military and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the former Minister of Defence who became Egypt’s president after the coup.

Turkey and Iran are centuries-old geopolitical rivals in the region, however recently the two countries appear to enjoy e period of rapprochement. The U.S. sanctions on Turkey and Iran have created an axis of solidarity between two countries, while Ankara and Tehran have also been cooperating against Kurdish insurgent groups in their countries.

Turkey and Iran, along with Russia, are also the guarantor countries of the Astana process, launched to explore a diplomatic solution for the conflict in Syria. 

The U.S. administration under President Donald Trump, on the other hand, has recognised Saudi Arabia as a key ally in the Middle East against Iran. 

Trump said on Wednesday that he thought it was likely that the Saudis had killed Khashoggi and said he would be upset if it were confirmed, adding that cutting off arms sales to Saudi Arabia as a punishment would hurt the United States.

“The real dilemma, of course, is that the Trump administration has gone all-in with the Saudis against Iran. And opposition to Iran is the centrepiece of the president’s Mideast policy,” Time said. 

“But as the private jets left Istanbul, their flight paths traced the webbing of alliances that now limits Trump’s range of motion — from Riyadh, which he honoured with his first overseas visit, to the United Arab Emirates, whose ruler secretly flew to New York to meet Trump after his election, to Egypt, ruled by ‘a fantastic guy’,” Times said.

While Iran is not in the picture, “its gravitational pull is always present,” Times said. Iran is the only country that will increase its power, as Saudi Arabia takes on the role of barbarous villain, it said