Turkey, Iran in war of words over Syria
ANKARASenior Turkish and Iranian officials have engaged in a war of words over Syria, with each accusing each other of lending support to terrorist organizations in a row that parallels Ankara’s ongoing tension with Moscow.
The quarrel began after Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari released a statement on Dec. 4 accusing Turkey of indirectly supporting terrorists in Iraq and Syria while responding to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s comments on the Iranian leadership’s Syrian policies.
According to the English version of the official IRNA news agency, Ansari said “pursuing policies and stances that will result in a boost to terrorists in Iraq and Syria and will only escalate tension in the region” and that the “continuation of such policies will only complicate problems for those countries that take such stances deliberately or unconsciously.”
Ansari also said Erdoğan’s suggestion that it was first Iran that had accused Turkey of buying oil from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and that the Turkish leader had urged Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to stop such coverage in the Iranian press distorted the truth.
Expressing Ankara’s astonishment at the nature of Ansari’s statements, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgiç said Erdoğan’s comments to Rouhani were not only in the official records of the phone conversation but also made with the knowledge of Iranian officials. “In this respect, trying to distort the content or to suggest that it never happened is not only immoral but also entails the hiding of the facts from the neighborly Iranian people,” he said.
‘Countries in cooperation with bloody regime’
Bilgiç said Turkey was pursuing policies that were principled and in harmony with the rules of the international community to effect a peaceful resolution to regional problems while also exerting efforts to address the humanitarian dimension of the issue in excess of what the rest of the world was currently doing.
“[As such] these accusations against our state about terrorism made by countries who are causing the escalation of the crisis in cooperation with the [bloody Bashar] al-Assad regime that is committing state terror against its own people have no seriousness at all,” Bilgiç said.
Turkey and Iran have totally different positions in Syria with the former attempting to topple al-Assad and the latter seeking to keep him in power due to its strategic interests.