Middle East countries rally behind Erdogan

Sunday 03/07/2016
Coup attempt is over, but what is next?

RIYADH – Saudi Arabia welcomed Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan\'s success in prevailing against a coup attempt, state news agency SPA quoted a foreign ministry official as saying on Saturday.

\"The source expressed the kingdom\'s welcome that things are returned to normal led by his Excellency President Tayyip Erdogan and his elected government and in line with the constitutional legitimacy and the will of the Turkish people,\" SPA said.

It was the first official comment by the world\'s top oil exporter on the coup attempt which began on Friday night.

Turkey\'s regional allies condemned the deadly but foiled coup attempt.

Key regional powers Iran and Israel, which have both had strained relationships with Erdogan\'s government, condemned the putsch that began late on Friday night.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke with his Turkish counterpart three times since the crisis began.

On Twitter, he hailed the Turkish people\'s \"defence of democracy & their elected government\" which he said \"proves that coups have no place in our region and are doomed to fail.\"

\"Deeply concerned about the crisis in Turkey,\" Zarif tweeted late on Friday.

\"Stability, democracy & safety of Turkish people are paramount. Unity & prudence are imperative.\"

Israel, which last month approved a deal to restore ties frozen after a deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish ship in 2010, also condemned the coup attempt.

\"Israel respects the democratic process in Turkey and looks forward to the continuation of the reconciliation process between Turkey and Israel,\" said foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.

Iran\'s Arab foes in the Gulf advised their citizens to stay off the streets.

In a telephone call with the Turkish leader, Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani \"congratulated (Erdogan) on the support of the people of Turkey on his rule against the failed military coup,\" the official QNA news agency reported.

Sheikh Tamim \"strongly condemned this failed attempt and voiced... (Qatar\'s) solidarity with Turkey... in all measures it takes to protect constitutional legitimacy, enforce the rule of law and preserve its security and stability.\"

Gas-rich Qatar is Erdogan\'s closest Gulf ally, sharing his sympathies for the Muslim Brotherhood that formerly ruled Egypt and which is outlawed in other Gulf Arab states.

Gaza\'s Islamist Hamas rulers, who have friendly ties with Qatar as well as Turkey\'s ruling Islamic-rooted AKP party \"condemned the failed coup attempt\" and \"congratulated the people and the Turkish leadership for successfully protecting democracy.\"

Turkey has recently obtained several compromises from Israel over Gaza including authorisation for Ankara to build a hospital.

On Saturday, activists -- notably those linked to Hamas -- called for demonstrations in solidarity with the Turkish government.

Erdogan called on his supporters on Saturday to remain vigilant, warning of the risks of a fresh flare-up of violence even as his forces regained control.

In Khartoum, President Omar al-Bashir condemned \"the attempted coup in Turkey and the disturbance of security and stability in the country.\"

\"The government of Sudan and its people stand besides President Erdogan and the people of Turkey to ensure security and stability in Turkey,\" the presidency statement added.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Saturday 161 people -- not including the putschists -- were killed in the coup attempt, with 2,839 soldiers now detained on suspicion of involvement.

Turkey\'s acting army chief had earlier said 104 putschists had been killed.