Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman claims Turkey and Iran, along with extremist groups, have formed a “triangle of evil” in the region amid Riyadh’s anger over Tehran-Ankara cooperation in Syria and the Turkish support for Qatar in the standoff with a Riyadh-led quartet of states.
“The contemporary triangle of evil comprises Iran, Turkey and extremist religious groups,” Egypt’s Al-Shorouk newspaper quoted bin Salman as saying on Wednesday in an interview with newspaper editors in Cairo.
Bin Salman’s belligerent comments against Iran were not the first of their kind, but those against Turkey mark a sudden escalation.
The heir to the Saudi throne further accused Turkey of seeking to revive the Ottoman Empire.
The Saudi embassy in Ankara, however, denied the comments, saying bin Salman was referring to the “so-called Muslim Brotherhood and radical groups” and not Turkey.
Turkey has been providing support to Qatar since the early days of a Saudi-led blockade against the emirate.
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt severed diplomatic relations with Qatar, in a scheme generally believed to have been orchestrated by Riyadh. The four countries accused Qatar of sponsoring “terrorism” and destabilizing the region, an allegation strongly denied by Doha.
The Saudi-led quartet presented Qatar with a list of demands and gave it an ultimatum to comply or face consequences. The demands included closing the Al Jazeera broadcaster, removing Turkish troops from Qatar’s soil, scaling back ties with Iran, and ending relations with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement.
Bin Slaman told the Egyptian media that the dispute with Qatar could be long-lasting. He played down the impact of the economic siege against Qatar, which he described as “smaller than a Cairo street.”
Apart from Turkey’s support for Qatar, Riyadh has also been irked by Ankara’s offering of shelter to members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which has been branded as a terrorist group by both Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
In Syria, Turkey and Iran, along with Russia, have been mediating a peace process between the warring sides, helping reduce the fighting in the Arab country amid efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in the Arab country.
The crown prince has repeatedly accused Iran of inciting violence across the region and pledged to take the war on Iranian soil.
Iran and Saudi Arabia are currently supporting opposing sides in the Syrian conflict.
Riyadh is widely believed to be a key sponsor of the Takfiri terrorists, who are inspired by Wahhabism, an extremist ideology preached by Saudi clerics.
Tehran has been effectively helping the Syrian government in its fight against those terrorists.
Elsewhere in Yemen, Saudi Arabia leads a military coalition which has been waging a deadly war on Yemen since 2015 to reinstall its former Riyadh-friendly government.
Riyadh accuses Tehran of sponsoring Yemen’s Houthi movement, but the Islamic Republic rejects the claim and urges the kingdom to put an end to the deadly war, which has killed over 13,600 Yemenis.