Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has described the Turkish government as part of a “triangle of evil” along with Iran and hardline Islamist groups, Egypt’s Al-Shorouk newspaper reported on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
The Saudi prince also accused the Turkish government of trying to reinstate the Islamic Caliphate, abolished nearly a century ago when the Ottoman Empire collapsed.
After a backlash from Turkish social media users, mainly on Twitter and Facebook, the Saudi Embassy in Ankara released a statement refuting the remarks. “It was alleged that the Saudi crown prince pointed to Turkey via the words ‘some evil powers in the region.’ We would like to state that these ‘evil powers’ are the Muslim Brotherhood and radical groups,” the statement said.
Bin Salman’s reported comments are seen as reflecting Saudi Arabia’s deep suspicion of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has its roots in Islamist politics and who has allied his country with Qatar in its dispute with Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf states.
Turkey has also worked with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival in the Middle East, to try to reduce fighting in northern Syria in recent months, and the Iranian and Turkish military chiefs exchanged visits last year.
Al-Shorouk quoted Prince Mohammed bin Salman as saying “the contemporary triangle of evil comprises Iran, Turkey and extremist religious groups.” The prince spoke to Egyptian newspaper editors during a visit to Cairo, on his first foreign trip since becoming heir to the oil-exporting giant last year.
(Stockholm Center for Freedom [SCF] with Turkish Minute)