Turkish FM's Iran visit highlights split over Syria
TEHRAN - Agence France-Presse
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu (L) shakes hands with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif prior to their talks in Tehran on Dec 17. AFP PhotoA visit to Iran by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Dec. 17 highlighted the two countries' opposing views on the Syrian conflict, though both said "dialogue" was needed to close gaps.
"We consider the [Bashar] al-Assad regime as not having legitimacy," Çavuşoğlu said at a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.
"Iran and Turkey have different positions but our countries are cooperating to find a common solution in Syria," he added.
Iran has strongly backed al-Assad, sending money and military advisers to Damascus as well as supporting him politically in the face of widespread international opposition.
Talks have been under way for months on a potential ceasefire between the al-Assad regime and rebel forces, but they have so far been fruitless.
More than 200,000 people have been killed in nearly four years and around half the population has fled their homes.
Çavuşoğlu's visit came at a time when Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halaqi was also in the Iranian capital for talks.
Zarif said that although Iran and Turkey had differences, they nevertheless faced "common enemies" and there was a "need to bring our positions together to stop terrorists entering Iraq and Syria."
"We all want peace established as soon as possible in Syria without foreign interference," Zarif added.