Turkish-Qatari alliance threatens Washington: US defense think tank

Documenting years of cooperation, the report highlights the increase in Turkish-Qatari relations that has been growing since 2002. (File/AFP)
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Updated 13 December 2019

Turkish-Qatari alliance threatens Washington: US defense think tank

  • Turkish-Qatari partnership in the Mideast will strengthen militant extremism and threaten American interests in the region, new think tank report finds

WASHINGING: The rise and consolidation of the Turkish-Qatari alliance poses “a growing threat” to the interests of the United States and the Middle East, a US think tank said in a report on Thursday.

The governments of Qatar and Turkey work together to “shelter terror financiers, promote hateful ideology, and prop up violent extremist groups” throughout the Middle East and lead to regional instability in the process, a report by the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) said.

Documenting years of cooperation, the report highlights the increase in Turkish-Qatari relations that has been growing since 2002.

FDD claims that the report “assesses their shared Islamist outlooks and joint support for regional extremist groups, as well as military-to-military cooperation, economic aid, and trade and investment deals.”

In the reported titled “Brothers in Arms: The Consolidation of the Turkey-Qatar Axis,” Senior Fellow Aykan Erdemir and Senior Research Analyst Varsha Koduvayur, say that “Washington has failed to hold these two countries to account over the years.”

“Turkish and Qatari leaders have become leading patrons of various Islamist movements around the world, fueling hate and prejudice against the West, and undermining efforts to strengthen secularism and minority rights in the Middle East,” Erdemir, a former member of the Turkish parliament, said.

“It is time for the US and its transatlantic allies to push back against this alliance and its sectarian ideology,” he added.

Co-author Koduvayur stressed that Turkey and Qatar have formed an “enduring foul-weather friendship.”

“Despite hosting important overseas US military bases, Ankara and Doha work together in a manner that only hurts Washington and its regional interests,” Koduvayur said.

“For too long, we have not sufficiently held these countries accountable for the major role they play in funding Hamas, in propagating extremist ideologies, and in backing a whole gamut of violent groups in Syria, Libya, and Iraq. This malign conduct will only increase the further entrenched this partnership becomes.”

FDD founder and president Clifford May says the Turkish-Qatari alliance “has become not just increasingly complicated, but also increasingly threatening to core American values and interests.”

The report recommends that Washington should use “inducements and disincentives” to pressure Turkey and Qatar. 


Cyprus: Turkey may have stolen data for latest gas drilling

Updated 17 min 36 sec ago

Cyprus: Turkey may have stolen data for latest gas drilling

  • Cypriot authorities do not have definitive proof
  • It’s believed Turkey got its hands on data that helped guide its drill ship to the specific target

NICOSIA: Turkey may have stolen technical data that enabled it to send a drill ship to a specific location south of Cyprus that energy companies Eni and Total had pre-selected to carry out their own exploratory drilling, a Cypriot official said Wednesday.
Government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos said that although Cypriot authorities do not have definitive proof, it’s believed that Turkey got its hands on data that helped guide its drill ship to the specific target.
The location is in an area, or block, where Cyprus has licensed Italy’s Eni and Total of France to carry out a hydrocarbons search. The two companies are licensed to conduct exploratory drilling in seven of Cyprus’ 13 blocks that make up its exclusive economic zone.
“There’s information, which is probably correct, that they had stolen plans and studies from a specific company, that’s why they went to the specific spot,” Koushos told Greece’s state broadcaster ERT.
The Cypriot official said was not suggesting that either Eni or Total handed Turkey the data.
Koushos repeated that Turkey continues to flout international law by carrying on with illegal drilling activity in Cypriot waters and accused the country of “gunboat diplomacy.”
“Unfortunately, Turkey has become the pirate state of the east Mediterranean,” he said.
This would be the fourth location inside Cyprus’ economic zone that Turkey is looking to drill since July. Turkey has dispatched warship-escorted drill ships to drilling targets to the east and west of the island nation.
Koushos denied a Turkish claim that it’s in secret negotiations with Eni on a hydrocarbons search in the area.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said Wednesday that the European Union is moving to expedite sanctions against individuals or companies involved in illegal drilling off Cyprus.
Turkey insists that it’s acting to protect its interests, and those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots, in the region’s energy reserves. It says part of Cyprus’ economic zone falls within its own continental shelf and that its drilling activities are also part of a deal with Turkish Cypriots.
The US State Department said Washington remains “deeply concerned” over reports that Turkey is moving to drill south of Cyprus, urging Turkish authorities to halt its “provocative step that raises tensions in the region.”
The State Department reiterated US support for Cyprus’ sovereign right to develop resources inside its exclusive economic zone and a deal that would allow Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to equitably share in potential gas riches.
Turkish Cypriots say they’re unfairly being left out of the gas search and are entitled to a share of any revenues. The Cypriot government says the Turkish Cypriots’ share of such wealth is guaranteed under an energy fund into which all future hydrocarbon revenues will flow and will be split after a deal reunifying the island is achieved.
Cyprus was divided along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup by supporters of union with Greece. A Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence in the island’s northern third is recognized only by Turkey. Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, but only the southern part, seat of the island’s internationally-recognized government, enjoys membership.
Other companies Cyprus has licensed to carry out a hydrocarbons search include ExxonMobil and partner Qatar Petroleum, as well as Texas-based Noble Energy and partners Delek of Israel and Dutch Shell.
So far three gas deposits have been discovered off Cyprus’ southern coastline.