No need to fear from our defence ties with Turkey: Qatar envoy
03 Jul 2017 – 1:37
Qatar’s Ambassador to Turkey Salem bin Mubarak Al Shafi
There is no justification for fear arising from the joint defence relations between Turkey and Qatar, said Qatar’s Ambassador to Turkey, Salem bin Mubarak Al Shafi. During an interview with Anadolu news agency, he stressed that Qatar is capable to bear the siege imposed by the three GCC states and Egypt, and America has opposed the siege measures against Qatar.
Ambassador Al Shafi described demand presented by the siege countries to shut down the Turkish base in his country as “illogical”. “The defence expenditures of some counties are almost similar to the expenditures of the big nuclear power countries, but they are not able to deal alone with threats to their national security and they opt for alliance. This is natural and they are free to do so, but they want us to cut our defence relations with Turkey which is an illogical demand “Al Shafi stressed.
He added that “There is no logic or reason to fear from this tie, and also no one has the right to interfere on this issue, or say it has been sped up or slowed down, maximised or minimised. This is sovereign matter which should be the concern of only the two countries”. “There is no justification for blowing this issue out of proportion, unless some countries in the region have bad intentions, and see the Turkish-Qatari cooperation as an obstacle to their agendas and I hope to be mistaken in this regards,” he added.
Qatar has defence relations with many countries in the world, and we do not see any objection for having such cooperation because the current situation in the region requires intensive and effective cooperation in this regard.
Qatar—Turkey defence relation goes back to the bilateral agreement signed in 2014, Al Shafi said, noting that the cooperation with Turkey is “very good” and the two countries ambition is bigger and looking forward to further strengthening it through hard works of defence ministers of the two countries and other relevant institutions.
This cooperation is like any other cooperation with other friendly counties such as the USA and the aim is to improve our own capacities which is still very modest compared to other countries, and as we need to ensure our national security which is under the risks and threats coming from different entities.
Additionally, this cooperation is crucial to combat terrorism which is in benefit of the security and stability of our country and the entire region.
In regards to the relation with US, Ambassador Al Shafi said there was confusion at the beginning of the crisis but gradually the US took more balanced stance and Washington has rejected measures taken by the siege countries.
US has asked the siege countries to make their demands realistic and actionable and it is supporting the Kuwaiti mediation and has called for solving the crisis through dialogue.
He considered the recent US position from the crisis as “fully identical to the Qatari position” and same thing with positions of Germany, France, United Kingdom, Russia, Japan, Turkey, Pakistan and other in the world.
This means “those who want to impose siege on Qatar, they are isolating themselves from the international community”.
“Our relation with US is strong, and able to resist challenges,” said Al Shafi, adding that “We have a firm partnership in a number of areas including combating terrorism”.
Many officials in the current US administration have expressed their appreciation to the strategic relations with Qatar, in particular Qatar’s support to the global alliance against IS and global terrorism, through Al Udiad base, which is the largest US base fighting terrorism in the region.
He added that “we should not forget that Qatar embraced this base when others decided to abandon it and asked the US troops to leave, and this shows that Qatar is a reliable partner and this is very essential for stability and decision making”.
US has praised its relations with Qatar, in particular when the Secretary of Defence James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
US is providing Qatar with advanced weapons and this would not happen if Qatar supports terrorism as some have alleged. Al Shafi stressed that his county’s relation with the US is not subject to damage by ambassador here or there, or by lobby.
Talking about the actual reason behind imposing blockade on Qatar the ambassador said “ we are clueless like other countries and do not know the real motive of seize countries for creating this crisis. The media has so many versions on this issue but all are contradictory. Sometimes they are talking about allegations to support terrorism and after a while they said the differences between the countries date back 20 years.
They claimed that the matter is related to the national security but when you go through the list of demands you will find the issues are related to closing a website and a news channel.
They said that the target is Iran and its militia then they demanded from us to sever deference ties with Turkey. They also said the differences are dating back 20 years then listed the issues that are less than 20 days old.
I think that this matter is “not a mature behaviour at all” and indicates a state of confusion. The international community could not take this misleading game for long. Now we can see clearly that the target is to subdue Qatar through blockade and imposing guardianship through demand list.
Some people are saying that there is no blockade on Qatar and blockade is being imposed only by the resolution of United Nations. This is not factually correct. And the most prominent example is the blockade imposed by Israel on Palestinians in Gaza that is unfortunately receiving support by the stands of some Arab countries.
Such explanations are breeding ground for carrying fresh aggression on Gaza then these Arab countries will ask Palestinians to keep mum about it.
The ambassador stressed that they can withstand with the siege imposed on their country. They surprised us in the beginning because a human being thinks that he is secured from his brother and friend and does not expect such acts from them. Now everything has become normal. We have alternative transport and supply lines, trade centres and we will expand it to make it as permanent alternative.
The Ambassador pointed out that the blockade has helped Qatari citizens to learn the importance of the diversification of political, trade and commercial relations with other countries. Now we have common interests and we want to make it sustainable.
He further said those who want to stretch this crisis are not aware about its negative implications on the region, Islamic world and international relations.
The Ambassador pointed out that attempts of political, diplomatically and economic blackmailing against a country for taking stand against us will lead to differences in the Arab and Islamic entity.
And forcing countries for standing with them or against them will compel other countries to sever ties with them.
The Ambassador said we have won the battle morally and diplomatically and the siege countries are now looking for new ways of escalation and threatening that breach international laws and the fundamentals of international relations.
But we believe that these things will go against them finally.
The attempts for disrupting the role of mediation by Kuwait by rejecting the negotiation on the demands indicate that these countries are not looking for solution and they do not want the mediation to be successful.
They wanted only to deliver the message at a time when responsible countries like Turkey, US, UK and Germany stressed on the need for supporting Kuwait mediation and making its mission successful.
Regarding describing Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir Hamas as a terrorist outfit in the beginning of June, Qatari Ambassador said that it is shocking and unreasonable and unacceptable.
The Ambassador said that by dubbing Hamas terrorist organisation they wanted to convince their agenda to other countries who have interests in keeping the occupation, to continue aggression and blockade against Palestinians.
He further said that siege countries proved that they are unable for decades long in defending Palestinians while they faced aggression and could not anything for them while the blockade imposed on them.
They are also unable in securing safety and security for them at this time. Despite this they wanted them to surrender for hiding their insufficiency by dubbing Hamas terrorist organisation.