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Bahrain thanks Turkey over its role in ending turmoil

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News | 5/12/2011 12:00:00 AM |

A Bahraini official has praised Turkey’s role in diffusing the tension in the country in recent months.

A senior Bahraini official praised Turkey’s role in diffusing the tension in the oil-rich Gulf country in recent months, as a result of its mediation efforts between an inner group as well as regional powers.

“We thank you for the position you have taken in this period. Thanks to your position, things are going better for Bahrain,” Bahrain Parliament Speaker Khalifa bin Ahmad bin al-Dahrani told his Turkish counterpart Mehmet Ali Şahin on Thursday. Al-Dahrani is paying an official visit to Turkey and met with the Turkish President Abdullah Gül as well.

Bahrain was shaken by mass protests in recent months as the Shiite majority under the rule of the Sunni minority demanded more rights from the kingdom. For the Sunni Arab rulers around the Gulf, Bahrain is seen as a critical showdown with Shiite powerhouse Iran. Arab leaders fear any serious political gains by Bahrain's Shiites, about 70 percent of the population, could open the door for greater influence by the Islamic Republic even though there is no historic bond between Iran and Bahraini Shiites.

Alongside other regional countries, Turkey also stepped in to calm down the tension between the streets and the kingdom. “Turkey’s position will never be forgotten by the people and government of Bahrain. Let’s also develop our parliamentarian ties to use in similar cases,” al-Dahrani said.

Şahin, for his part, emphasized Turkey’s satisfaction with the current situation in Bahrain and said it won’t hesitate helping the country again if it needs. Recalling Turkey’s communication with all related countries namely Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Iran, Şahin said they have also talked with the Bahraini opposition for resolving the problem in the integrity of a stable and secure Bahrain.

“It’s crucially important for all Bahraini people, be it Sunni or Shiite, to continue to live together in peace. A good portion of responsibility lies on the shoulders of your parliament,” Şahin said, advising to continue dialogue to reach a solution.

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