Gulf nations rebuke Turkey’s ‘hostile’ statements

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain denounced Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar after he said Turkey would hold the UAE accountable for its actions in the region "at the right place and time", Saudi-owned news channel Al Arabiya reported on Sunday.

Last week, Akar lambasted the UAE for its involvement in Syria and Libya, accusing the Gulf country of supporting regional terrorist organisations.

UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash called on Turkey to “stop intervening in Arab affairs” in a statement on Saturday.

“The provocative statement of the Turkish Minister of Defence is a new low for his country's diplomacy. The Sublime Porte and colonialist illusions belong to the archives of history,” Al Arabiya cited Gargash as saying on Twitter. He was referring to Turkey’s Ottoman past.

“Relations are not conducted with threats and intrusions, and there is no place for colonial illusions at this time. It is more appropriate for Turkey to stop interfering in Arab affairs.”

Bahrain also criticised Akar in comments at the weekend.

“Bahrain denounces the hostile statements of the Turkish Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar, regarding the United Arab Emirates, considering it an unacceptable provocation that contradicts diplomatic norms, and a reprehensible threat to a brotherly Arab country that is known for its constructive role in the international community,” the country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to Al Arabiya.

Turkey supports the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord while the UAE backs rebel General Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army in Libya’s six-year-old civil war.

Ankara also backs the Muslim Brotherhood, a pan-Islamist organisation that the UAE and its allies characterise as terrorists and hostile to their interests.