Turkey accuses UAE of ‘spreading chaos’ in Middle East

Turkey accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday of “bringing chaos” to the Middle East through its interventions in Libya and Yemen, claims which are likely to further stoke tensions between the two countries.

The UAE, as well as Egypt and other countries, are “trying to destabilise the whole region,” Turkish Foreign Minister Çavusoglu told Turkish Islamist broadcaster Akit TV, particularly singling out the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

“If you are asking who is destabilising this region, who is bringing chaos, then we would say Abu Dhabi without any hesitation,” Çavuşoğlu said. “It is a reality that they are the force that unsettled Libya and destroyed Yemen.”

Cavuşoğlu was responding to criticism of Turkey’s role in war-torn Libya, where Turkish military personnel have been deployed to support the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli as it battles a months-long insurgency.

The Turkish foreign minister’s comments arrive a day after the UAE and Egypt, which both back the General Khalifa Haftar-led insurgency in Libya, condemned in a joint statement what they called Turkey’s military interference in the North African country. 

The relations between Turkey and the UAE have simmered since Gulf countries and Egypt placed an embargo on Qatar in 2017. The UAE is particularly uncomfortable with Turkey’s support to Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Last month, the UAE – accused by the U.N. of supplying aircraft and military vehicles to Haftar – called on all parties in Libya to commit to a U.N.-supervised political process to end the war.

The UAE was, until it reduced its presence last year, also a leading power in an Arab alliance that launched a campaign in 2015 against the Iran-aligned Houthi movement in Yemen.

Cavuşoğlu on Tuesday additionally accused the UAE of supporting Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab militants in Somalia, where Turkey maintains a military base and is training Somali security forces.