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Stance of the Gulf countries against Iran could cause a cold war, experts say

STANCE OF THE GULF COUNTRIES AGAINST IRAN COULD CAUSE A COLD WAR, EXPERTS SAY

Academics stated the strong stance of the Gulf countries against Iran could create a cold war like situation in the region.

Gulf countries have taken a strong stance against Iran, creating a cold war like situation in the region, academics said on Friday.

"In order to counterbalance influence and consolidate their internal political fluctuation they want to create a cold war-like bipolar system within the Middle East," said Talha Köse, a professor of conflict studies from Ibn Haldun University in Istanbul, in an exclusive interview to Anadolu Agency.

He was speaking about the ongoing Gulf crisis which erupted when earlier in June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Bahrain and Yemen abruptly cut diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing it of interfering into domestic affairs of other countries in the region and supporting terrorist groups.

They also imposed a land, sea, and air blockade on Qatar.

The Qatari government has strongly rejected these accusations and stressed that the blockade was in violation of international law.

Elaborating his point Köse said, "When it comes to Qatar, Turkey and other actors including Oman and Kuwait, try to stay impartial so as to not help any independent bipolar regional order."

GULF CRISIS LEADS TO TWO BLOCS
Köse hinted at the creation of two blocs in the region, the first which comprises of coalition sided by Bahrain and Egypt for support, and the other by neutral actors like Oman and Kuwait.

"A group of actors such as Oman and Kuwait want to stay neutral in this crisis. This group includes Turkey which is supporting Qatar," he noted.

"In this picture, it can be presumed that Turkey, Oman and Kuwait will not be involved in a possible coalition against Qatar," Mehmet Koç, an expert on Iran from Ankara-based think tank, the Center for Iranian Studies (IRAM), told Anadolu Agency.

"The Qatar crisis targets Turkey as well as Iran", Koç said.

"For the accusations made against Qatar could easily be transferred to Turkey. Because Turkey is promoting the Muslim Brotherhood at every stage clearly, a movement which is seen as an internal threat by the Gulf countries in question," he added.

Koç also stressed that the situation will eventually create an alliance between Turkey, Iran and Qatar.

Köse agreed that one of the targets of the Qatar blockade is Turkey. "The Gulf countries want to isolate Qatar in order to cut its connection with Iran. But on the other hand, if you look at their list of expectations from Qatar, they also want it to cut military cooperation with Turkey."

TURKEY AS A MEDIATOR
Last Saturday, Qatar announced it had received a 13-point list of demands by four countries leading the blockade -- Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the U.A.E. and Bahrain.

According to media reports, demands include the closure of the Al Jazeera news channel, the downgrading of Qatar's ties with Iran, and the extradition of "terrorists" from the country.

The four countries have reportedly given Doha a 10-day deadline to meet their demands.

Earlier in June, Turkey's parliament ratified two deals on deploying troops to Qatar and training its army.

"Turkey should try to be mediator and keep good relations with Saudi Arabia unless the Saudi-led coalition wants to further escalate the situation. In that case Turkey should help Qatar to maintain its autonomy," Köse said.

As negotiations continue, he warned the possible extension of embargo to other actors in the region.

"I think the best option should definitely be ending of this embargo on Qatar and negotiations on the concerned issues. I think if they succeed in Qatar's compliance, they may extend the embargo to other actors in the region," Köse said.

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