— The Erimtan Angle —

Always keeping abreast of what is happening to Shi’ites in the Middle East and further afield, Iran’s Press TV reports that ‘Turkey has expressed its support for the Bahraini dictatorship by warmly receiving Bahraini Interior Minister Sheikh Khalifa Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa amid the Manama regime’s ongoing crackdown on peaceful anti-government protests. Sheikh Rashid paid an official visit to Turkey as the head of a Bahraini delegation on [Wednesday, ] May 9. Turkish President Abdullah Gul welcomed the Bahraini delegation at the Çankaya Presidential Palace. The Bahraini interior minister claimed during the meeting with Abdullah Gul that Manama will continue to implement reforms’.[1]

A security cooperation agreement between both states has been in effect since 2006. Before meeting Turkey’s President, Sheikh Rashid had a meeting with Turkish Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin. And on Thursday, 10 May, the Bahrani minister toured a number of factories in the Istanbul region and also declared the following: “Bahrain has been able, thanks to its wise leadership, to overcome the crisis and present a bold leading model in tackling issues by taking effective steps that earned international appreciation and projected the kingdom’s real image”.[ii]  Meanwhile Turkey is not the only one to strengthen its ties with the repressive Gulf state, as reported by the news agency Reuters: the ‘United States will resume some military sales to Bahrain, a key Gulf ally facing Iran, despite human rights concerns linked to months of popular protests against the island kingdom’s rulers, the State Department said on Friday [, 11 May]. The Obama administration notified Congress that certain sales would be allowed for Bahrain’s defense force, coast guard and national guard, although it would maintain a hold on TOW missiles, Humvees and some other items for now, the department said in a statement . . . U.S. officials said among the sales now allowed to go forward would be harbor security vessels and upgrades to turbo-fan engines used in F-16 fighter aircraft as well as legislation which could pave the way for a future sale of a naval frigate. Items still on hold, besides the missiles and the Humvees, include teargas, teargas launchers and stun grenades’.[3]  At the same time, Reuters’ Andrew Hammond pointed out on Tuesday, 8 May that “Bahrain vowed on Tuesday to crack down harder on anti-government protests as a leading opposition figure said the government had put a stop to talks on addressing the political grievances that fuelled last year’s pro-democracy uprising. Bahraini media have reported a new security plan to “restore order” to the Sunni-ruled Gulf monarchy and, in recent days, authorities have detained a leading activist and warned a top Shi’ite cleric to stop alleged incitement to violence”. [4]

[1] “Turkey supports Bahraini dictatorship amid ongoing crackdown” Press TV (12 May 2012). http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/05/12/240851/turkey-supports-bahraini-dictatorship/.

[2] “Turkey supports Bahraini dictatorship amid ongoing crackdown”.

[3] “US to resume arms sales to Bahrain despite human rights concerns” Reuters (12 May 2012). http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/47397323/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/.


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