Turkish PM slams both Syria, Iran for shortcomings
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with PM Erdogan (L) in Tehran on March 29. AFP photoTurkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed the Iranian administration over its tactical statements on the venue of the upcoming nuclear talks with the P5+1 group, accusing Tehran of being unwilling to negotiate with the Western powers.
“Proposing Damascus or Baghdad as the venue of talks means ‘these talks should not take place.’ You know very well that your counterparts will not come there,” Erdoğan said at a press conference with visiting Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha.
“They have to be honest. When you are not honest, you start to lose credibility. This is not the language of diplomacy. This language does not suit me,” he said.
Erdoğan’s statement reflects the ongoing rift between Ankara and Tehran over the turmoil in Syria which caused Turkey to summon the Iranian envoy to the Foreign Ministry to lodge a reaction against a harsh accusation from Tehran. In the light of recent tension, Iranian officials said nuclear talks slated for April 13 should take place in China, Iraq or Syria instead of Istanbul.
“We are not seeking to gain prestige [by hosting these talks],” Erdoğan said, adding that Turkey has always tried to pursue a just policy when it comes to the Iranian nuclear case.
Speaking about the situation in Syria, Erdoğan said information coming from Syria showed that Syrian troops and tanks were not withdrawing from the cities. “These are all lies. There are still reports about the killings. The tanks are not in a maneuver of withdrawal but in a maneuver of deception,” he said.
Erdoğan said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had never been honest and never kept his promises since the turmoil began last year. “We’ll see whether [these reports of withdrawal] are accurate on April 10.”
No apology from Iranian envoy
Iranian Ambassador to Turkey Bahman Housseinpour did not issue an apology for the words of senior Iranian officials at his Wednesday meeting with Turkish Foreign Ministry officials, the embassy said in a written statement Thursday.
Denying reports that the ambassador apologized, the statement described the meeting as a “friendly and warm” one, in which both parties made the necessary statements. Housseinpour was summoned to the ministry Wednesday after senior Iranian officials criticized Turkey’s position on Syria.