Mehmet Acet, a columnist for Yeni Safak daily, said on Tuesday that Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meant the United Arab Emirates when he recently referred to a Muslim country that spent billions to topple the Turkish government in the coup in July 2016.
Cavusoglu said in recent remarks that a foreign country funneled money to the conspirators while making efforts to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"We know that a country provided $3 billion in financial support for the coup attempt in Turkey and exerted efforts to topple the government in illegal ways. On top of that, it is a Muslim country,” said the Turkish foreign minister, as quoted by Acet.
Acet elaborated on his claims in an interview to the Turkish media, saying sources in the Turkish Foreign Ministry had confirmed that the country behind the coup was indeed the UAE. "The minister did not name the country. However, sources from the foreign ministry have confirmed that it was the UAE,” Acet told Daily Sabah newspaper.
After the coup, large sections of pro-government Turkish media have also hinted at foreign involvement in the coup attempt with many pointing fingers at the US and the UAE.
Turkey, UAE at odds over Muslim Brotherhood
Turkey and the UAE have been at odds over Egypt which blames Ankara for backing e Muslim Brotherhood, an international Islamic group viewed as an enemy of state by the UAE. The current diplomatic crisis between Qatar and several Arab countries especially Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt stem from, among other thing, Doha's backing for the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey has sided with Qatar in the current dispute and has even decided to send troops to the embattled Persian Gulf state. The UAE was among the first Arab countries to welcome the overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood backed government of Mohammad Morsi, the first democratically elected president in Egypt. After the July 2013 coup, the UAE has pledged USD 6.9 billion in aid to support Egyptian government of Abdel Fatteh el-Sisi. There were unconfirmed reports that US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused of being the main plotter of the coup, visited the UAE before the failed coup.
Recently, President Erdogan said Ankara knew which Persian Gulf countries were happy with the coup attempt on the night of July 15. "We know very well who was happy in the Persian Gulf when there was a coup attempt in Turkey. We have an intelligence agency if some have it. We know very well who spent that night and how. "The president also stressed that Turkey has knowledge of how some countries have spent money in this regard.
Turkey's solidarity with Qatar worsens ties with UAE
Meanwhile, observers recall that during the coup, Qatar declared it solidarity with Turkey’s government and used its global media outlet, Al Jazeera, to condemn the coup. This was while both UAE and Saudi Arabia implicitly supported the coup attempt via Riyadh-funded Al Arabiya and other news channels.
During the first hours of the coup, the director of Al Arabiya and its anchors were excited on the first hours of the coup attempt and highly expected the eventual overthrow of Erdogan’s government.
Media activists condemned Al Arabiya’s bias to the coup plotters, while it was not lost to observers that Saudi Arabia and UAE regimes remained silent until the failure of deadly coup.
UAE-Qatar ties will remain tense after President Erdogan on Tuesday denounced the isolation of Qatar as "inhumane and against Islamic values", and said the methods used against the Persian Gulf state were unacceptable, and analogous to a "death penalty".