Turkey tells envoy it condemns Iranian media’s linking of Saudi executions to Erdoğan
CİHAN photoTurkey has asked Iran’s ambassador for an end to Iranian media reports linking the execution of a Shiite cleric by Saudi Arabia with last week’s visit to Riyadh by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“We strongly condemn the linking of our president’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia to the executions in the country in stories published in media outlets linked to Iranian official bodies,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement released late on Jan. 7.
The statement also condemned reports that directly accused Erdoğan, saying they aimed to create a negative image of the Turkish president in the eyes of Iranian people.
“It was also stressed to the ambassador that the attacks on the Saudi Arabian embassy and consulate in Tehran and Meshed were completely unacceptable and inexplicable,” the statement added.
However, during a press conference on Jan. 8, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç confirmed that Ambassador Ali Reza Bikdeli had not been summoned to the ministry, but instead had a scheduled appointment at the ministry on that day.
Erdoğan returned from a two-day official visit from Riyadh on Dec. 31. Saudi Arabia’s execution on Jan. 2 of Shiite cleric and activist Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr erupted into a full-blown diplomatic crisis as Riyadh, then Bahrain and Sudan, severed relations with Tehran, the world’s strongest Shiite power.
In remarks delivered on Jan. 6, Erdoğan did not condemn Saudi Arabia for its execution of 47 convicts, saying it was an “internal legal matter” of the kingdom.
“The executions in Saudi Arabia are an internal legal matter. Whether you approve of the decision or not is a separate issue,” Erdoğan said in a televised speech, his first reaction to the controversy that has strained relations between Saudi Arabia and its regional rival.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia, both considered Sunni powers, share the same vision on the conflict in Syria, where they believe only the ousting of President Bashar al-Assad can bring an end to almost five years of civil war. Iran, along with Russia, is the key remaining ally of al-Assad.
Tensions have increased in recent years between Turkey and Iran over the war in Syria.