AKP official accuses Gulf countries of supporting Gezi unrest in Turkey
BRUSSELS - ANKARAAn executive of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has added new names to the list of alleged provocateurs behind last year’s Gezi unrest, which the government considers a de facto coup attempt, suggesting that a number of Gulf countries supported anti-government protests across the country.
AKP Deputy Chair Yasin Aktay claimed that “certain countries” were against the “Levant Quartet” agreement between Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, which was signed to develop stronger economic and cultural integration back in 2010, in what officials at the time hailed as an “EU of the Middle East.”
“This idea stirred concerns in certain countries, they didn’t want this to happen,” Aktay was quoted as saying by the semi-official Anadolu Agency late on Nov. 18, while participating in a conference titled “New Middle East and Turkish Politics” at the AKP’s office in Brussels. He stressed the importance of the stances of regional countries, as well as “external powers,” without openly specifying names.
“In my opinion, the Gulf countries were scared of losing their power to this development, because they would eventually have to share their oil and natural gas sources,” Aktay said, apparently referring to the 2010 plan that also envisioned the forming of a “ShamGen” among the signatory countries, similar to the EU’s Schengen visa system.
Some Gulf countries have supported coups and coup attempts in order to reverse the Arab Spring process and have even provided financial support, he added, including the Gezi protests in this category.
“[The Gulf countries] attempted to support the Gezi movement in Turkey too. These were extremely professional protesters. A very carefully prepared and sponsored project was implemented in Turkey,” he said, referring to the protests that erupted last May in the heart of Istanbul before spreading across the country.
Previously, government officials and AKP executives have accused various circles for provoking the Gezi unrest, including the “interest rate lobby,” the “Jewish diaspora” and German national air carrier Lufthansa, which government supporters claims wants to block the construction of Istanbul’s third airport.