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Quo Vadis Turkey-GCC States Relations? A Turkish Perspective

With the growing need for more cooperative relations in the face of Iran’s assertive foreign policy following Saddam’s fall, Turkey’s importance as a counterbalancing country in the region increased in the eyes of the GCC states. In a similar vein, Gulf markets, and energy resources offered great opportunities for Turkey’s expanding economy. Both sides, therefore, managed to keep cordial relations despite some diverging interests following the Syrian crisis. However, the Qatar crisis brought the existing problem areas between Turkey and the GCC states, to the surface. This article will focus on these problem areas by taking into consideration the reasons for dramatic changes in both sides’ relations following the coup attempt in Turkey and Trump’s visit to Riyadh.

Quo Vadis Turkey-GCC States Relations A Turkish Perspective

The startling photograph of Donald Trump, King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi placing their hands on a glowing orb at the summit in Riyadh in May 2017 and the following Qatar crisis clarified how the cards are being reshuffled in the Gulf. Trump’s visit to Riyadh, during which an arms deal amounting to nearly $110 billion was made with Saudi Arabia, had four purposes. First was to exclude Iran from the region, second was to strengthen Saudi Arabia’s role in the Gulf and Middle East. Third was to boost Israeli stakes in the face of the increasing influence of the Russian Federation and Iran in Syria. Fourth was to challenge the alliance of Iran, Turkey and Russia as they came together seven times in Astana for peace making in Syria.

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