Iranian vice president visits Turkey

Iranian vice president visits Turkey

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Iranian vice president visits Turkey

Iran’s Vice President Lotfollah Forouzandeh Dehkordi for parliamentary affairs.

Iran’s Vice President Lotfollah Forouzandeh Dehkordi for parliamentary affairs travels to Turkey today.

Dehkordi will expected to hold talks with Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ tomorrow, with the Syrian crisis expected to top the agenda.

Sources told the Hürriyet Daily News that the Iranian side requested to hold the talks with Turkish officials, adding that Dehkordi would also be holding a number of other meetings in Ankara.

The meeting comes after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized Iran on May 7 for “turning a blind eye” to massacres in Syria. Erdoğan likened the latest mass killings in Syria to the 7th century Battle of Karbala, and the perpetrators to Caliph Yazid I.

Erdoğan said that Iran’s Imam Khomeini had distanced himself from then-Syrian President Hafez al-Assad because of the Hama massacre in 1982, and accepted him to his office only months after the incident.

“Fine, now I ask those who have been running the same office; I wonder how long you will turn a blind eye to this massacre. The organizations which lend support to Syria’s illegitimate regime, the states which back Syria’s illegitimate regime, particularly the U.N. and the [U.N.] Security Council cannot handle to suffer the consequences,” Erdoğan said.

Iran is highly critical of NATO’s deployment of Patriots on Turkey’s Syria border, claiming that the deployments add further to instability in the region. Earlier this year, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had said Iran should first of all warn Syria to put an end to the bloodshed of its own people, rather than criticize the deployments.

Dehkordi’s visit also comes after Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi held talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on May 7, saying the time had come to dissuade Israel from carrying out attacks like its air strikes on Syria over the past week.

“The time has come to dissuade the Israeli occupier from carrying out such aggression against the peoples of the region,” he said, quoted by Syrian television after his arrival in Damascus on a previously unannounced visit. “Iran stands at the side of Syria in the face of Israeli aggression, whose aim is to damage the security of the region and weaken the axis of resistance.”