U.S. needs to plan response to Turkey-Qatari axis, analyst says

The United States should step in to curb the malign conducts of Turkey and Qatar who further complicate problems in the Middle East by providing sanctuary to extremist ideologies, wrote analysts Aykan Erdemir and Varsha Koduvayur in the National Interest on Wednesday. 

Turkey’s humanitarian assistance to Qatar at the onset of a 2017 Saudi-led blockade was “just the most visible sign of a strategic convergence” between the two countries over their support for groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Erdemir and Koduvayur said, citing a co-authored report published in December by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

“Together, Turkey and Qatar have become permissive jurisdictions for a whole host of Islamist groups, prompting the U.S. Treasury to sanction Turkey and Qatar-based individuals and entities for aiding and abetting Hamas, the Islamic State and al Qaeda among others,” the analysts said. Ankara and Doha have also provided safe havens to terror financiers, taking the risk of violating U.S. and U.N. sanctions, according to Erdemir and Koduvayur. 

As the Turkish-Qatari partnership grows across a wide range of fields, including defence cooperation, military ties, media, energy and banking, their destabilising agenda in the Middle East is worrisome for Washington because they are, at least on paper, allies of the United States, the analysts said. 

“Washington needs to develop a multipronged response that involves its transatlantic allies and regional partners to compel Ankara and Doha to curb their malign conduct,” Erdemir and Koduvayur said. Washington should take steps against Ankara and Doha but welcome them back should they abandon their adversarial policies, they said.