Turkey, Iran need close discussions amid ‘worrying’ developments in region: Iranian FM

Turkey, Iran need close discussions amid ‘worrying’ developments in region: Iranian FM

Turkey, Iran need close discussions amid ‘worrying’ developments in region: Iranian FM

AA photo

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on June 7 that Ankara and Tehran need to have a close exchange of ideas on the latest worrying developments in the region.   

“There are concerning developments in the region for us. We need to have a close exchange of ideas with Turkey regarding these incidents,” Zarif told reporters in the capital Ankara before meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Zarif offered condolences for those who lost their lives in twin attacks in Tehran on June 7, which was claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). “This attack will further strengthen our people’s stance against terrorism,” he said, adding that Iranians and the country’s security forces will stay strong in the face of such attacks.

Zarif’s visit came on the same day twin attacks targeted the Iranian parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran. Regional issues, including the Syrian war, are on the agenda, a Turkish Foreign Ministry official said, adding that the initiation for the visit had come from the Iranian side. 

A group of Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt cut ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing the gas-rich Gulf country of supporting extremism, while a number of regional and global actors, including Turkey and the U.S., called for dialogue to resolve the dispute. 

Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and the Maldives joined the group in severing relations with Qatar, accusing Doha of harboring “terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to destabilize the region including the Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh [ISIL] and al-Qaeda.”

Ankara has urged dialogue and continued contacts between Gulf countries in a bid to resolve the unprecedented crisis, while expressing Turkey’s “sadness” over the incident.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has been on a push to resolve the crisis, has said isolating Qatar, including by the use of sanctions, would not resolve the rift.

“It will not contribute to solving any problem to try and isolate Qatar in such a way, which we know for sure has fought very effectively against terrorist groups,” he said after an iftar dinner on Tuesday.

Erdoğan has been in talks with the leaders of Qatar, Russia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and others on mitigating the tension. “We appreciate the cool-headed and constructive attitude which Qatar has shown. We, as Turkey, will continue to develop our relations with Qatar as with all our friends,” he said. 

Turkey and Qatar have improved their bilateral relations in recent years, including accelerated economic ties, which allowed the former to open a military base on Qatari territories.

Iran issued a neutral statement on the crisis, urging Qatar and its neighbors to resolve their differences “through political and peaceful methods and dialogue between the parties.”

Riyadh also accused Doha of supporting Iran-backed “terrorist activities” in Saudi Arabia’s Shiite-dominated area of Qatif, as well as in Bahrain, both of which have seen Shiite unrest in recent years.

Qatar has consistently denied any support for extremists or Iran.