Erdoğan’s planned visit to Iran not cancelled after criticism
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
AA photoThere has been no change to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s planned visit to Tehran, a high Iranian official has said, dismissing allegations of a possible cancellation which arose after he openly criticized Tehran.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister in Consular Affairs Hassan Qashqawi told journalists he understood there was no change to Erdoğan’s schedule, the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s official website reported March 29.
Erdoğan said earlier this week Turkey had announced its support for the Saudi-led military operations against Houthi rebels in Yemen, while criticizing Iran.
In an interview with French network FRANCE 24 on March 26, Erdoğan said Ankara may consider providing “logistical support” to the mission while accusing Iran of trying to “increase its influence” in the region.
“Those who caused irreparable damage with their strategic blunders and ambitious policies had better adopt responsible policies aimed at using the existing capacities for establishing peace and convergence in the region,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said On March 27.
Turkish presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın had also earlier ruled out any change to Erdoğan’s plans to visit Iran in the first week of April amid the Saudi-led military offensive in Yemen.
“On the contrary, these developments have raised the significance of [Erdoğan’s] Iran visit,” Kalın said.
Several Arab states have joined the Saudi-led offensive which kicked off late March 25 with a string of airstrikes against Houthi positions in Yemen, including in the capital Sanaa.
Fractious Yemen has been in turmoil since last September, when the Houthis overran Sanaa, from where they have sought to extend their influence to other parts of the country.
Some Gulf countries accuse Shiite Iran of supporting the Houthi insurgency.