JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia said Saturday a Turkish military base similar to that built in Qatar would not be welcome in the Kingdom, stressing it is “not needed.”
The statement came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly said he had offered to build a military base in Saudi Arabia shortly after work began on Turkey’s facility in Qatar.
“The Kingdom cannot allow Turkey to set up a military base on its territory,” said a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA). The statement, quoting an official source, said Saudi Arabia has no need for this, adding that its armed forces and military capabilities are “at the best level.”
The official said Saudi armed forces are participating abroad, including Turkey’s Incirlik base, “in the fight against terrorism and protecting security and stability in the region.”
Turkey is supporting Qatar in the diplomatic crisis involving three Gulf countries. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain have broken off ties and imposed sanctions on Doha, accusing it of supporting terrorism and courting regional rival Iran — allegations Doha denies.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Vice President Iyad Allawi accused Qatar of promoting a plan to split Iraq along sectarian lines.
Allawi is a secular Shiite politician who has some support within Iraq’s Sunni community. His position as vice president is largely ceremonial and his views do not reflect those of the government.
“In Iraq, Qatar adopted a project similar to that of Iran; to split Iraq into a Sunni region in exchange for a Shiite region,” Allawi told a news conference in Cairo. “Unfortunately, some Arab states were silent when it came to Qatar.”
“It is time we all spoke honestly and made things clear (to the Qataris) so we can reach some results,” Allawi said. “After that confrontation, comes reconciliation.”
— With input from Reuters