Main opposition CHP urges gov’t to remain neutral in ongoing Gulf row

Main opposition CHP urges gov’t to remain neutral in ongoing Gulf row

Main opposition CHP urges gov’t to remain neutral in ongoing Gulf row Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has urged the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to remain neutral in an ongoing diplomatic crisis of a number of Arab nations’ cutting ties with Qatar on June 5.

“Turkey should not take sides between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Our basic policy in the Arab world should be avoiding being a part of the ongoing wars. To take a side means to be a side in the problem. To be neutral will mean becoming a part of the solution,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in parliament on June 6.

A group of Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt cut ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing the gas-rich Gulf country of supporting extremism, while a number of regional and global actors, including Turkey and the U.S., called for dialogue to resolve the dispute. 

Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and the Maldives joined the duo in severing relations with gas-rich Qatar, accusing Doha of harboring “terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to destabilize the region including the Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – ISIL] and al-Qaeda.”

“Qatar should stop supporting the Muslim Brotherhood,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that the AKP government should refrain from “a politics that would support the Muslim Brotherhood on that subject.”

“The AKP is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, the leader of the AKP has been the first [to do that]. It is very dangerous. They should immediately cease their support,” he said.

Kılıçdaroğlu criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for frequently making the “Rabia” hand gesture. 

The “Rabia” gesture became popular among sympathizers of the Muslim Brotherhood around the world. It was named after Rabia Square in Cairo, which was the site of a brutal crackdown against mass protests against the coup d’etat that overthrew former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

“AKP should quit making the Rabia hand gesture,” he said.

“Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are all regarding the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, and yet [Erdoğan] makes this gesture the AKP’s symbol. It is neither local nor national. You [Erdoğan] have brought the four-fingered gesture of a terrorist organization and have made it a symbol,” he said.

Morsi, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, was imprisoned for a mass jail break during the 2011 uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak and sentenced to life for spying on behalf of Palestinian group Hamas.

Erdoğan had previously defended the Rabia gesture, saying: “The Rabia gesture emerged after Morsi was imprisoned. I use the gesture, but to say one nation, one flag, one country and one state. At the same time it means Esma,” he said, referring to an 18-year-old girl who was killed in Rabia Square.