A United Arab Emirates diplomat has said that the “Arab world will not be led by Tehran or Ankara” in the latest episode in a dispute sparked by a 100-year-old historical event.
Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates announced that the “Arab world would not be led by Turkey”, the Gulf State’s first comment on Ankara since a quarrel broke out last week over a retweet by the Emirati foreign minister that President Tayyip Erdogan initiated an insult.
The UAE minister said there is a need to rally around the “Arab axis” of Saudi Arabia and Egypt to ward off regional powers that wish to expand their influence at the expense of the Arab world.
He wrote on his official Twitter page: “The Arab world will not be led by Tehran or Ankara”.
Last week, Turkey summoned the charge d’affaires at the UAE embassy in Ankara, after UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan shared a tweet that accused Ottoman soldiers of looting the holy city of Madina a century ago.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded at awards ceremony: “Some impertinent man sinks low and goes as far as accusing our ancestors of thievery…What spoiled this man? He was spoiled by oil, by the money he has.
“Officials in some countries who lack respect for boundaries, historical knowledge and diplomatic etiquette cannot overshadow the brotherhood that links us to Arab people,” Erdogan tweeted in Arabic last week.
The UAE sees itself as an ardent fighter against “political Islam”, and perceive Erdogan’s ruling AK Party as supporters of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood.
Abu Dhabi has also been accused of being involved in a failed coup against Erdogan last year.
Moreover, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have led a blockade against Qatar, a major ally of Turkey.