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Experts: Turkey is possible mediator in solving Yemeni conflict

07 January 2010 [18:17] - TODAY.AZ
Turkey's strong ties with the Shiite and Sunni countries of the Middle East raise the chances of Ankara to mediate in solving the internal conflict in Yemen, experts said. It is not ruled out that regional counties interested in stabilizing the situation in Yemen, as well as the United States leading the fight against al-Qaeda terrorists will support the intervention of a Muslim country in the conflict.

"Close relations with Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia give Turkey the advantage of mediation in solving the conflict in Yemen, if it is required from Ankara," leading Turkish analyst Mustafa Ozcan told Trend News over phone from Istanbul.

In an interview with TRT-2 on Monday Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated about Turkey's willingness to make all possible efforts to establish stability in Yemen.

Foreign Minister said that Turkey closely observes the events in Yemen, as inter-confessional clashes in this country can spread all over the region.

Davutoglu's statements were made amid the U.S. administration's decision to increase financial aid to Yemen by 56 percent, by allocating $63 million in fiscal 2010. The "Funds - 1206", anti-terror provisions are not included and already planned for current year.

In 2009 a decision was made to allocate $67 million to Yemen on equipping the armed forces to support anti-terror actions and strengthen border control.

The United States' anxiety over the activity of the terror organization al-Qaeda in Yemen has increased after in late December citizen of Nigeria Abdul Farouk Abdulmutalib tried to blow up the plane of the U.S. company Delta Airlines, moving from Amsterdam to Detroit. The plotter was neutralized. Later it was revealed that he had a terror training in one of Yemeni camp.

Turkish analyst Ozcan thinks that Ankara does not intend to interfere in the fight of Sana'a against al-Qaeda terrorists, but plans to mediate in solving the conflict of the central Yemeni government with the opposition and the militarized group of Shia group of Huthis in the north of the country.

"No self-respecting country will negotiate with terrorists. Iran and Syria could be successful mediators in solving the problems with Huthis. But they will not be admitted to it by Saudi Arabia. So, only Turkey remains," Ozcan said.

Ozcan said Turkey's success can ensure trusting relations with the Yemeni government, supported by Riyadh, as well as with Syria and Iran. It is expected to support Huthis calling on independence from Sana'a.

Dr. Theodore Karasik, specializing in Middle East security, thinks that Turkey is very serious to be become involved in Yemeni situation , considirating its long history  in fighting against terrorism.

Terrorists of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) are based in the east and south-eastern Turkey more than 30 years. They require the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in Turkey.

Experience can be transferred into Yemen and it can play a role of helping, like training and military equipping of the Yemeni army in operations against al-Qaeda and separatist movements in the north of the country, Director of Research and Development at the Institute for Near East &Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA) Karasik told  Trend News over phone from Dubai.

Arabic analyst on Middle East politics, Jawad Mahmoud Al-Hamad, considers Turkey's success that it can become a link in the political dialogue between the Yemeni leadership and groups based in that country.

"Huthis will approve mediation of Turkey, as they were rather weakened after military attacks of Saudi Arabia. Many countries in the region trust Turkey. Therefore it is bound to succeed in mediation while solving the conflict between the Yemeni government, Huthis and opposition forces in the country, the Middle East Studies Center head, Al-Hamad, told Trend News over phone from Amman.

If Turkey takes part in solving the Yemenite conflict at the international level, it is not ruled out that Iran and the movement sympathizing with it in the region, such as Hamas will join it, Jordanian political analyst said.

Other Arabic expert Saleh Zeitoun thinks that the parties of the conflict will support Turkey as a Muslim country, a member of NATO, along with the United States and other Western countries.

Turkey's objective approach towards regional countries, as well as the religious factor give Turkey the opportunity to be a central player in the Middle East, as it was with Egypt before, which is busy with its internal problems, and Saudi Arabia, which restrains from intervening in the affairs of other countries, Zeitoun told Trend News over phone from Amman.

The United States should welcome Turkey's involvement in Yemenite conflict, because it is a very positive sign that one Sunni country can assist another Sunni country, expert on Middle East security Karasik said.

"Only time will tell if Turkey can be successfull.The real key is to get as many Sunni countries involved as possible, and even GCC states can play a role," Karasik said.

According analyst,  the West's attempts to solve the problem as calling of a conference in Great Britain on the situation in Yemen in late January can be futile.

The initiative of convening the international conference to solve the situation in Yemen in late January was raised by the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. His country after the United States closed its embassy in Sana'a, which resumed its activity on Tuesday.

"This is not an answer, the answer has to come from the Arabian peninsula itself," Karasik said.

/Trend News/

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