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Saturday, April 13, 2024

War of Narratives: Al-Jazeera Accused Of Sabotaging Turkey-Qatar Relations

Daily Sabah, a Turkish Newspaper, has accused Al Jazeera English of conspiring against Turkey-Qatar partnership under the pretests of independent journalism. The newspaper demands the government in Qatar look into the matter.

Turkey’s leading newspaper, Daily Sabah, has clarified that the recent newsbreak by Al Arabiya was false. Al Arabiya on Sunday claimed that Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu thanked Qatar for funding Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring against terrorists in northern Syria.

Çavuşoğlu said on Twitter on Sunday that he had met with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Doha, conveying the greetings of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

It is important to note that recently Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said has clarified that Turkey’s military incursion isn’t expansionist but because it faced an “imminent threat” from Kurdish groups on its Syrian border. As a matter of fact, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also clarified that the offensive aims to remove the Kurdish-led forces from the border area and create a “safe zone” to which millions of Syrian refugees can be returned.

He was speaking at Global Security Forum in Doha when he comprehensively addressed the matter and explained it to the world that the situation is like now. “At the beginning [Turkey] said ‘don’t support these groups’,” Abdulrahman said, referring to Kurdish elements such as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) that helped the US-led coalition combat the militant Islamic State (IS) group.

Read more: Qatar-Turkey strengthens Economic & Strategic Partnership Amid Controversies

However, Al Arabiya quickly twisted the post into a claim that Turkey had received financial support from Qatar for its counterterrorism operation. The news broadcaster said that Turkey did not mention the amount of money Qatar had given in support of the Turkish military, adding that Erdoğan had unsuccessfully sought financial support from European countries and the U.S.

“Al Jazeera English: A Threat against the Turkey-Qatar Alliance”

In an editorial, the Turkish newspaper also warned the state of Qatar to look into what the Al Jazeera English is doing to damage Turkey-Qatar partnership. “Al Jazeera English, Qatar’s flagship news channel, has been spreading anti-Turkey propaganda. Under the pretext of independent and objective journalism, the network has succumbed to bias and fake news to misportray known terrorists and fugitives from the law as oppressed activists,” Daily Sabah noted.

The editorial board was alluding to Kurd terrorists who have challenged the peace and order in Turkey and posed a threat to its national security.

The editorial also noted that since the newspaper is ignoring facts and presenting one-sided coverage before the world, it is seriously deceiving both countries. “This is a betrayal of Al Jazeera‘s own legacy. Funded by Qatar’s government, the network has traditionally served to present an alternative view of the world. Al Jazeera Arabic continues to provide the region’s perspective on global affairs and carves out room for alternative voices in the global mainstream,” it stated.

While explaining the case, the newspaper outlined what Turkey has done for the refugees. “Turkey did the heavy lifting when the Syrian civil war broke out and millions of people were forced to flee Syria. The country has been hosting over 3.5 million Syrian refugees for eight years, making it home to the world’s largest refugee community. Since 2011, Turkey delivered over $40 billion worth of goods and services to address the humanitarian crisis next door.

Today, it is the only country with a plan to bring Syrian refugees home. In this sense, the Turkish plan is also a direct response to the systematic de-Arabization of Syria’s border towns, where international human rights organizations say the PKK’s Syrian offshoot, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), has forced thousands of local residents into exile,” it noted.

Read more: Qatar backs Turkey’s Military Operation in Syria despite Opposition from US

The editors finally warned that “the Turkey-Qatar partnership’s future is at stake. Before it is too late, Al Jazeera needs to weed out all individuals seeking to poison that alliance behind the smokescreen of independent journalism”.

Turkey and Qatar enjoy friendly and brotherly relations despite the latter’s blockade by Arab states since 2017. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism. Doha denies the charge and says the boycott aims to infringe on its sovereignty.

Trade between Qatar and Turkey is expected to have hit $2 billion in 2018, a Turkish official said, up 54 percent from the previous last year and underscoring Ankara’s solidified role as a top ally to Qatar amid a political rift in the Gulf region.

Qatar-Turkey trade volume for the first 10 months of 2018, the latest data available, indicates $1.7 billion of total trade, higher than the $1.3 billion in all of 2017, a Turkish trade official told international media. That trade includes goods such as Turkish food and building materials to Qatar and Qatari liquefied natural gas and aluminium to Turkey.