Skip to main content

Erdogan tries to juggle Iran, Saudi Arabia amid Qatar crisis

Retired diplomats say Erdogan’s Qatar policy is driven more by his survival instinct than a rational foreign policy and that Ankara has squandered an opportunity to play a positive role in this crisis.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Turkey, May 30, 2017. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTX387FQ
Read in 

Very little has gone the way President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted in the Middle East since the start of the now-defunct Arab Spring. His reaction to the Qatar crisis, where he threw his lot in with Doha at the expense of endangering ties with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, appears to be the latest episode in this enigma.

This development is also likely to force Erdogan to ease tensions with Tehran, which also backs Qatar, to avoid facing a new bout of isolation in the region. Tellingly, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was in Ankara literally within hours of the Qatar crisis' breaking out.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.