Turkish experts, former diplomats warn against repercussions of ‘sectarian’ anti-terror alliance
Uğur Ergan - ANKARA
FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 file photo, Saudi security forces, whose faces display the word "Decisive" take part in a military parade in preparation for the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. AP PhotoA number of veteran experts and former diplomats have cautioned against Turkey’s participation in a 34-state Islamic military alliance that consists solely of Sunni states to fight terrorism, saying that forming of such a Sunni bloc would trigger more sectarian divide in the region.
“I consider that it will hardly yield a positive result,” İlter Türkmen, a former foreign minister, told Hürriyet on Dec. 16. “There is no harmony within the Arab world and they have big problems among themselves. Most importantly, Iran, which is a significant regional power, is not in this initiative. It is difficult for such an initiative to be successful without Iran,” Türkmen said.
According to Özdem Sanberk, a former undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry, Turkey has made a hasty decision in joining the bloc.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have the principle of priorities in our foreign policy. Announcing that we will join this formation is one of the drifts in our foreign policy, long-term strategic priorities of which are not clear. I don’t believe that this formation led by Saudi Arabia will be effective,” Sanberk said.
Armağan Kuloğlu, a retired major general, said the initiative reflected an “understanding of a Sunni military.”
“Moreover, it is being led by Saudi Arabia, which is the strictest Muslim country. It says ‘I am against terror,’ but a sectarian approach is being displayed,” Kuloğlu said.
The Saudi-led alliance does not include the kingdom’s Shiite regional rival Iran, Syria or Iraq.