Ankara, Tehran to improve dialogue, vows Turkish diplomat amid tension over Syria
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
AFP photoTurkey and Iran have reached a consensus on improving dialogue by increasing mutual high-level contacts and visits, said a senior Turkish diplomat after a recent visit by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ibrahim Rahimpour to Ankara.
“During the meeting, we agreed to continue enhancing our dialogue in the upcoming period via increasing mutual high-level contacts and visits,” said Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Ambassador Ümit Yalçın on Feb. 12.
Yalçın’s remarks came after talks with Rahimpour in Ankara earlier this week.
Yalçın said Ankara and Tehran agreed on improving economic and trade relations and cooperating in the energy sector, following the recent lifting of international economic sanctions against Iran.
Stating that the two sides had exchanged views on regional issues, especially over developments in Syria and Iraq, during Rahimpour’s visit, Yalçın said they both agreed on “the importance of stopping the bloodshed in Syria.”
“We touched upon the need to initiate a political process for stopping the bloodshed in Syria and implementing a real transition process,” he said.
“In this respect, we expect Iran’s regional policies to be constructive and we hope it [Iran] will understand how much it is [acting] in a wrong manner by cooperating with the Russian Federation and supporting the [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] regime,” Yalçın added.
The Syrian government’s backers, namely Russia and Iran, call for Bashar al-Assad to be part of any transition process.
Turkey, which has taken in a large number of Syrian refugees, is deeply opposed to al-Assad remaining in power, accusing his regime of being responsible for the deaths of thousands of people.