Regional tensions continue to rise over the split with Qatar today, as Egyptian junta leader President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi called on the other nations participating in the anti-Qatar blockade to agree to expand the siege to include NATO member nation Turkey.
Sisi is mad at Turkey primarily because Turkey’s President Erdogan has supported Qatar during the recent siege, and has criticized moves against Qatar as “un-Islamic,” saying the region should be committed to unity, and not divisiveness.
Sisi brought up the matter during an official visit by the King of Bahrain, one of theother nations participating in the siege. No other nations have yet commented on the possibility of bringing Turkey into the siege, but there are a lot of reasons it is unlikely.
Turkey is much larger than Qatar, and more influential. They are also one of the region’s largest exporters of food, and the loss of them as a trading partner would be potentially very problematic for nations like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with no obvious replacements.
Moreover, this would further solidify the ideological divide around which the Qatar split is truly based. Resentment against Qatari media’s support for pro-democracy Islamic movements, particularly opposed by Sisi, who in 2013 came to power in a coup removing an elected Islamist government, is a big part of the anti-Qatar push, but Turkey’s own ruling party is a conservative Islamic party, and has backed the Qataris as a result.
Moving against Turkey would be extremely risky in this regard, as while Sisi hopes it would oblige Turkey to abandon its support for Qatar, it would in all likelihood solidify it, and make it increasingly obvious that Qatar is not isolated.