Middle East Eye reports some startling criticism of Turkey from King Abdullah of Jordan, who is a nominal ally of the Turks, during a visit to Washington in January. The details of the King’s remarks are said to have been kept secret until now.
Evidently feeling snubbed by the late cancellation of a meeting with President Obama, Abdullah told a group of high-ranking congressional leaders that Turkey was enabling the spread of Islamist terrorists into Europe and pushing a “radical Islamic solution” to problems in the Middle East.
Among the charges leveled at Turkey by Abdullah, according to this report, is that Turkey is “absolutely” helping the Islamic State export oil — an accusation frequently leveled at Turkey its critics, notably including Russia, and vehemently denied by the Turkish government.
Middle East Eye also reports Abdullah saying, “The fact that terrorists are going to Europe is part of Turkish policy and Turkey keeps on getting a slap on the hand, but they are let off the hook.”
The Jordanian king allegedly added that Turkey has been assisting Islamist militia groups in Libya and Somalia, sought to impose a “religious solution” to the Syrian civil war – by which he apparently meant an Islamist takeover, along the lines of the Muslim Brotherhood taking over Egypt after the Arab Spring uprisings — and shunting the Syrian refugee tidal wave into Europe, after the Turks decided Russian bombing made it impossible to establish safe havens on the far side of their own borders.
“We keep being forced to tackle tactical problems against ISIL, but not the strategic issue. We forget the issue of the Turks, who are not with us on this strategically,” Abdullah reportedly told the senators.
He claimed “radicalization was being manufactured in Turkey.”
Evidently at least some in the Turkish government believe this account of Abdullah’s remarks to U.S. lawmakers is accurate, because according to Middle East Eye, a “senior Turkish source” shot back by accusing Abdullah of becoming “the spokesman for Bashar al-Assad.”
The Turkish official said Abdullah’s allegations against Turkey “are the same as the slanders frequently expressed by the Assad regime,” and he said Jordan should pursue strategic cooperation with Turkey, “instead of acting like the spokesperson of Assad.”
“Bombings take place in Turkey, not in Jordan. When this is the case, groundless accusations by King Abdullah are totally unacceptable,” this Turkish source added.
The UK Independent, which seems to accept the veracity of the Middle East Eye account, suggests Abdullah was “angered by the EU’s generous offer of cash and diplomatic ties in return for Turkey limiting the onward flow of refugees into the continent.”
However, the Washington Post reports that Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu believes “there is no problem with bilateral relations between Turkey and Jordan,” while a Jordanian government official seemed to dismiss the Middle East Eye report by saying, “This kind of news is devoid of the minimum of vocational professionalism.”
Hurriyet Daily News observes that Davutoglu only just returned from a productive trip to Amman with several Turkish ministers, where agreements to enhance bilateral ties with Jordan were signed.
Hurriyet has Davutoglu holding up Turkey and Jordan as a “perfect example of a regional relationship.” He reportedly met with King Abdullah during his trip to Amman, as well as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.