The Turkish cat and Qatari mouse game


“A cat and mouse game” is how we can describe what has transpired since the murder of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi, after attempts by politicians, media outlets and organizations hostile to Saudi Arabia to politicize the case and use it to undermine the Kingdom’s security, stability and sovereignty.

In doing so, they have attempted to infringe upon the Kingdom’s sovereignty, which is a red line Saudi Arabia will not allow anyone to cross at whatever cost.

This has led observers to say that the Turkish side in the game is claiming to possess tapes. They (the observers) stress that these claims will backfire on the Turkish government.

If these tapes exist, they will confirm that the Turkish authorities are eavesdropping on diplomatic missions and representative offices in Turkey, most probably through the local workers that embassies and consulates employ. Or they are eavesdropping on these embassies and consulates using spying devices. By doing so, they are violating international norms and conventions.

Turkey, along with its mouse, Qatar, is attempting to disparage Saudi Arabia by leaking false information and fabricated lies through the media of both countries. Moreover, they want to use the “alleged” tapes to encourage the US to impose sanctions on Riyadh.

However, US President Donald Trump thwarted all of these attempts, stressing that his Administration was adhering to its alliance with Saudi Arabia. He also asserted that he would not risk taking any foolish measures against the Kingdom and as a result jeopardizing the American and the global economy.

President Trump announced that he would meet Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires. The Kremlin issued a statement saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin would also meet with the Saudi Crown Prince.

What does this mean? This is a new affirmation by the two superpowers of the world – America and Russia – of the important status of Saudi Arabia and its regional weight and influence on global politics. It is a frank assertion that the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is basically a criminal, not a political, matter. Therefore, it should not be a pretext for attempts to destabilize Saudi Arabia, which would ultimately destabilize the world economy and in turn global political stability and security.

Since the beginning of the Khashoggi case, Doha has spent huge amounts of money organizing systematic, dirty media campaigns to malign Saudi Arabia.

Regrettably, some foreign news agencies and Western media have been tempted by Qatari money to try to disparage the Kingdom’s reputation. However, what they have reaped is one failure after the other.

Amidst this media frenzy, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said in several reports that such fake news has spread far and wide, due to the tireless efforts of the Turkish media. The BBC was referring to the volume of fabricated and fake news being repeated by the electronic brigades of the Turkish Justice and Development Party.

The truth is that since the 2016 attempted coup, Turkey has become a big prison. As a result of security campaigns, some 402,000 people have been subjected to criminal investigations and 80,000 others have been detained, including hundreds of journalists.

Furthermore, 189 media organizations have been closed, 172,000 Turkish nationals have been fired from their jobs and 3003 private universities, schools and student hostels have been closed and confiscated.

A British radio station asked: “If Turkey has such colossal spying capabilities, then why didn’t they intervene to prevent what happened to Saudi journalist Khashoggi?”

The radio station added that Ankara demanding that it put on trial those involved in the incident is something that is impossible to achieve. The reason is that these people have already been detained by the Saudi authorities, pending investigations, as announced by the Kingdom.

The second reason is that the integrity and impartiality of the Turkish judiciary has been under question since the 2016 failed coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Apart from this, commentators add that if such tapes exist, no just court will accept them as evidence. Any honest and impartial court would treat them as inadmissible evidence, according to the prevailing Western justice system and values.

As to the American version of the “cat and mouse game”, it is taking place between groups and politicians who are well-known for their enmity to Saudi Arabia, on the one hand, and the US Administration that is an ally of the Kingdom, on the other.

The US Administration has been calling for deliberation and resorting to reason so as to reach a final solution to the incident, especially since the Saudi steps in this case are being taken in a practical and correct fashion.

While some of those groups are exerting pressure to implement measures that are impossible in dealings between sovereign countries, others are even going to the extent of calling for economic and arms sanctions. However, the US Administration is working for a “gentleman’s” agreement with Saudi Arabia to take legal measures against those accused in the incident.

The Kingdom has announced that it was doing this through investigations, whose results were announced by the Saudi Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Clearly, those unjust campaigns and crazy demands will not receive any response from Saudi Arabia nor from its brethren, friends and allies. The Kingdom is a large, influential country in the region and the world and enjoys sovereignty over its territories. It is Saudi Arabia alone that has the right to determine how it runs its governmental affairs and plans for the future of its people.

The Kingdom will not accept any threats or dictates. It will remain strong and proud with indefatigable determination and resolve.

The author is a Saudi writer. Follow him on Twitter: @JameelAlTheyabi