Turkey backs Saudi Arabia against US 9/11 act

President Erdogan says the terrorist attack was carried out by individuals and a country can't be held responsible for it.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Iraq is one of many conflict-hit Muslim countries where thousands of people have been displaced and anger is building up.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country and its key ally Saudi Arabia are being singled out.  

The legislation that allows citizens of the United States to bring law suits against Riyadh was unfortunate, he says. 

"Turkey and Saudi Arabia are being targeted. The developments taking place in Iraq, Tunisia, Syria, Libya, Pakistan and Afghanistan cannot be seen as distinct from one another," he said in an interview with Arabic news channel Rotana.

The statement comes at a time when Turkey is supporting its middle eastern ally in criticism of a legislation enacted by the US Congress last week.

The Justice against State Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) allows families of the victims of 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US to sue foreign governments.

Some of the families have indicated they would file court cases against Saudi officials who they accuse of helping the terrorists.

This has strained Washington's ties with Riyadh, which has threatened to pull back investment from the US. 

US President Barack Obama had initially vetoed the bill. But the US Congress voted overwhelmingly in favour to override the veto.

"We expressed disapproval on the adoption of the 9/11 victims bill," Erdogan said, joining the Saudi officials in voicing his concern.

In the last couple of days, Erdogan has talked about JASTA on two occasions – first during the opening speech to the parliament and later in the interview.

"It's unfortunate that the US Congress has allowed lawsuits to be brought against Saudi Arabia," Erdogan had told the parliament.

"It's against the principle of individual criminal responsibility for crimes. We expect this false step to be reversed as soon as possible," he added.

Family members of 9/11 victims have lobbied hard for passage of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act which has strained Washington’s ties with Riyadh.  [Reuters]

Riyadh and Ankara have strengthened their ties in recent months and backed each other on international issues. Diplomatically both countries are aligned in their approach towards Syrian and Yemeni conflicts.

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Nayef was in Turkey last week where he held talks with senior officials including Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

These developments also come when an international coalition led by the US is preparing to take back the Iraqi city of Mosul from DAESH militants.

Mosul fell into the control of DAESH – the terrorist organisation opposed by both Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

And Erdogan has also laid out his vision for the liberated city.

"When Mosul is rescued from Daesh, only Sunni Arabs, Turkmen and Sunni Kurds should remain there," he told Rotana. 

Mosul belongs to people of Mosul. No one else has the right to be there.

The Mosul offensive is expected to start in a couple of weeks.

TRTWorld and agencies