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POLITICS > Turkey, Iran friction deepening on Syria

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Visiting Iranian FM Salehi (L) holds intense talks
with Turkey’s Davutoğlu.

Visiting Iranian FM Salehi (L) holds intense talks with Turkey’s Davutoğlu.

Political tensions between Ankara and Tehran are growing over the conflict in Syria, with Turkey warning Iran to cease blaming Ankara for the Arab republic’s violence while also calling on the Islamic republic to stand against Damascus’ alleged killings.

Recent remarks by Iranian officials could “harm not only the rooted relations of Iran and Turkey, but the diplomacy Iran conducts in the international arena,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters yesterday before departing for a visit to Myanmar. 

His statement came one day after holding talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, to whom Davutoğlu conveyed Ankara’s unease over Iranian Chief of Staff Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi’s suggestion that Turkey was involved in the bloodshed in Syria and accusation that Ankara, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, was assisting the “war-waging goals of America.” 

The Iranian general’s comments had come as Salehi flew to Turkey on Aug. 7 to solicit Turkish help to effect the release of 48 Iranian pilgrims kidnapped in Syria over the weekend. 

Although the comments were not made by Iran’s leaders, they were made by individuals holding official posts, Davutoğlu said. “We would expect these officials, both in Turkey and Iran, to think a few times before making any comments. Our position on the issue was explained to Mr. Salehi in a frank and friendly manner,” Davutoğlu said.

“The Syrian regime bears the whole responsibility” for the tension between Iran and Turkey, Davutoğlu said, adding that Tehran should not try to pin responsibility for Syria’s violence on other countries. “It is our right to expect Iran to assume a constructive attitude in the face of Muslim blood being spilled in Syria during the holy month of Ramadan.”

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also issued a warning after Firouzabadi’s statement, saying it was “worrying and regrettable” while reminding Iran that Turkey had supported it in the international arena with regard to its ongoing nuclear program.

“When no one else was by its side, Turkey was the country that stood by Iran in spite of everything. Turkey was also the country that defended [Iran’s right to] nuclear energy,” Erdoğan said, addressing members of his party at a fast-breaking iftar dinner Aug. 7.

Salehi, meanwhile, said that although Turkey and Iran had different views on some issues, Iran’s government wanted to promote relations with Ankara. 

The differences between the two countries are not having a negative impact on relations, Salehi told Iranian state TV channel IRINN on Aug. 8 while asking some Iranian officials to consider different aspects of the issue in the interests of maintaining an environment of international friendship.

Ultimately, political issues are different from humanitarian issues, Davutoğlu said, noting that Turkey was making efforts toward the release of the abducted Iranian pilgrims in Syria.

Salehi also said some “retired” members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and army were among the 48 Iranians taken hostage in Syria by rebels over the weekend. The foreign minister, however, denied rebels’ allegations that the Iranians had been on a military mission, saying the former military personnel had been exclusively on a religious pilgrimage to Damascus when they were seized Aug. 4.
 
“A number of the [hostages] are retired members of the guards and the army. Some others were from other ministries,” Salehi was quoted as saying to reporters as he flew back from Turkey.

August/09/2012

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READER COMMENTS

Notice on comments

Aryeh Rapaport

8/9/2012 8:04:38 PM

Pyotr, Why not quote protocols of Zion? I dont know who, when, why but I would disagree and accuse you of making it up. I hope you bring proof otherwise you just write blablas and wont get a response next time. To my knowledge no representative group in Israel ever promoted that philosophy or thought - I guess thats why you had to go back to 1956. No where in the bible does it say Arabs/ Palestinains are slaves to Jews (your making things up again...) Present good points not made up stories!

Pyotr Ivanovich

8/9/2012 4:47:05 PM

Aryeh,your comment pls: "I vow that if I was just an Israeli civilian and I met a Palestinian I would burn him and I would make him suffer before killing him. With one hit I've killed 750 Palestinians (in Rafah, 1956). I wanted to encourage my soldiers by raping Arabic girls as the Palestinian women is a slave for Jews, and we do whatever we want to her and nobody tells us what we shall do but we tell others what they shall do." [source: Ariel Sharon - interview with General Ouze Merham, 1956]

JRC JRC

8/9/2012 4:01:21 PM

It's interesting to note that the AKP's rhetoric towards Iran is still quite soft, when compared to other countries less critical of Turkey in recent times. Erdogan is usually slamming, accusing or insulting everyone that doesn't fall into line with him, but with Iran it's like he's trying to keep the only friend left after the others have left the party.

R Collins

8/9/2012 2:07:51 PM

pilgrims? who makes a pilgramage to Syria now given all the violence? Media reports say the Iranian regime had prohibited such visits and that this group's travel had been arranged by a travel agency controlled by the revolutionary guards. Unless visits to torture sites are now considered a pilgrimage by the Iranian regime.

Aryeh Rapaport

8/9/2012 1:54:09 PM

Levent, We are doomed if our only choice is kill or make money. Nobody should be against making money but what type of money? from who? Doing what? Who are Turkeys friends? What do these friends do? I dont want to be friends with a killer. I dont want to sit, speak, trade with a person who kills, beats and rapes. It says something bad about the personality. Its ok if you dont mind these friends but dont play it off as though your a Democracy, EU worthy country, Humanitarian - your not.

Aryeh Rapaport

8/9/2012 1:40:19 PM

Sylvia, Arduan slammed Israel not as a Muslim (he claims) but as a humanitarian. Its ok if your not a humanitarian; dont lie to world as if you have a moral backbone. As we witness time and again Turkey has no moral backbone. It occupies, kills and jails Kurds, Its PM received prizes from Qaddafi weeks before uprising & called Assad a dear friend and brother while there was slaughter in Syrian streets. As a Independent citizen I can preach to Turkey on lack of Freedom, Democracy, Justice.

Erdogan Erdogan

8/9/2012 10:08:41 AM

Turkey deserves this problems with Iran because Turkey helped Iran just like to the ‎Hamas and this is the price that she (and Eygapt)have for helping the rung side.‎

LEVENT HUSEYIN

8/9/2012 9:06:27 AM

@Aryeh Rapaport, Making money is more civilised than killing! But sadly many Muslim nations don't share this idea because they are spoilt with oil revenues so killing is first option. Turkey dosen't fall in this category because Turks are not gifted with natural Minerals so they are left with no option but to sell Turkish brands to the arab world or Iran and that's the civilised way. 

LEVENT HUSEYIN

8/9/2012 8:55:06 AM

Turkey should stop blowing it's  own trumpet! For the last 10 years we where made to believe that we where a regional power but that wasn't the case. The more Turkey gives itself credit the more she attracts enemies! Like the old saying 'When your doing well no one likes you' The best for Turkey is shut-up and continue with your mission.  

Sylvia Walter

8/9/2012 7:04:33 AM

@ Aryeh; no one needs to be told, certainly not an independent Turkey especially on its deep routed relations with Iran or anyone else for that matter.. unlike some of those countries, who love to preach global democracy whilst hypocritically and appallingly disregarding human rights violations (inland and abroad) day in day out, pursue to further their own interests at the expense of fundamental rights of the humanity..
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