Rouhani urges Iran-Turkey joint efforts in Iraq, Syria
DUBAIIranian President Hassan Rouhani called on Nov. 26 for greater cooperation between neighboring countries Iran and Turkey to help establish stability in Syria and Iraq. “Today when the region is in a critical condition, cooperation and consultation by Tehran and Ankara in resolving issues can make a difference,” Rouhani told visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported, according to Reuters.
“If major regional powers stand together, problems in Iraq and Syria will be resolved without the need for foreign powers,” Rouhani added.
“Despite [their differences], the two countries’ officials are looking for solutions and seeking to draw closer their points of views, especially on Iraq and Syria,” IRNA earlier reported.
“Preserving the territorial integrity and national unity of Iraq and Syria is in the interest of Iran and Turkey as well as that of regional peace and stability,” Çavuşoğlu was quoted by IRNA as saying.
Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan accompanied Çavuşoğlu in his Iran visit, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Iran, a Shiite Muslim nation, is one of the main allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war, while Sunni-majority Turkey has been one of his fiercest critics and has supported his opponents.
Iran has joined Iraq in criticizing the Turkish military presence in northern Iraq, which Ankara has said is at the invitation of the government.
Relations between the two neighbors appear to have improved after Iran supported the government of Turkey against a failed military coup in July.
Meanwhile, Turkey offered condolences on Nov. 27 to the grieving families of the victims of a Nov. 25 train accident that killed more than 30 people in northern Iran’s Semnan province, a statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.
“We convey our condolences to victims’ families and our friendly and neighboring country, Iran, [and] wish a speedy recovery to those injured,” the statement said.
At least 36 people were killed when two passenger trains collided in the Semnan province on Nov. 25 morning, according to local officials and press reports.
Another 95 people were injured in the accident, according to a statement released by the Iranian Red Crescent.