Saudi crown prince pursuing plan to target Turkey, weaken Erdogan: UAE document

A leaked UAE intelligence document shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been pursuing a “strategic plan” aimed at weakening the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has adopted a tough position against Riyadh over the state-sponsored assassination of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Entitled “Monthly Report on Saudi Arabia, Issue 24, May 2019,” the confidential document was written by the Emirates Policy Centre and obtained by the Middle East Eye news portal.

It revealed that bin Salman had decided to confront Turkey following the murder of Khashoggi — an outspoken critic of the heir to the Saudi throne — by a Saudi hit team inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2, 2018.

Ankara has been pressing the Saudis, in vain, to cooperate in a probe into the crime, which Erdogan says has been ordered by the highest ranks of authorities in Riyadh. The CIA has concluded that bin Salman had ordered the murder of Khashoggi — who had been brutally dismembered inside Riyadh’s mission.

According to the leaked document, the Saudi scheme involves mounting pressure on Erdogan’s administration, slashing Saudi investment in Turkey and sidelining Ankara in issues of the Muslim world.

The plan would use “all possible tools to pressure Erdogan’s government, weaken him, and keep him busy with domestic issues in the hope that he will be brought down by the opposition, or occupy him with confronting crisis after crisis, and push him to slip up and make mistakes which the media would surely pick up on,” read the document.

“The kingdom would start to target the Turkish economy and press towards the gradual termination of Saudi investment in Turkey, the gradual decrease of Saudi tourists visiting Turkey while creating alternative destinations for them, decreasing Saudi import of Turkish goods, and most importantly minimizing Turkish regional role in Islamic matters,” it added.

The Emirati report also accused Erdogan of having gone “too far in his campaign smearing the kingdom, especially the person of the crown prince, using in the most reprehensible manner the case of Khashoggi.”

It further claimed that Turkey had not provided “specific and honest” information to assist the “Saudi investigation” into the killing, but instead leaked “disinformation” to the media “aimed at distorting the image of the kingdom and … the reputation of the crown prince.”

In June, Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, presented findings of her six-month investigation into Khashoggi’s murder case, backing up Ankara’s views on the murder and the CIA findings.

In her 101-page report, she said that there is “sufficient credible evidence” indicating that the Saudi crown prince bears responsibility for the murder and thus should be investigated.

Under Riyadh’s campaign against Ankara, the number of Saudi tourists to Turkey has decreased while the kingdom has blocked Turkish exports and excluded Erdogan from a recent Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Mecca.

A senior Turkish official, speaking anonymously, said that his country was aware of the Saudi strategy as the kingdom had openly called for a boycott.

“It is almost public, to the extent that you could see their activities on Saudi-backed social media and Saudi state media,” he said. “Tourist arrivals are decreasing, while we are having problems related to Turkish exports. We are closely following the situation.”


Australia will not host US missiles, says PM Morrison

‘India bid will lead to Israel-style colonialism in Kashmir’

UN urges India, Pakistan to stay calm as Kashmir heats up

Iran’s Rouhani: US must lift all sanctions if it seeks talks

China: US officials colluding with Hong Kong separatists

Black men more likely to be killed by US police: Study

Hamas slams UN for not putting Israel on ‘List of Shame’

Iran’s Soleimani: Bans on Zarif sign of absolute US defeat

Britain to join US-led naval mission in Persian Gulf

China vows to respond if US deploys missiles in Asia

Pentagon spending more on F-35 to make it nuke-ready

Hiroshima mayor urges Japan govt. to join nuke ban treaty

Leaked: MbS aiming to take Erdogan down over Khashoggi

Trump orders freeze on all Venezuelan govt. assets in US

US-China trade war escalates as yuan falls

Israel continues to withhold bodies of Palestinian martyrs