Turkey’s top cleric to attend int’l conference in Tehran

Turkey’s top cleric to attend int’l conference in Tehran

Turkey’s top cleric to attend int’l conference in Tehran

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Turkey’s top cleric is set to attend the International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran next week, where this year’s theme will be “The Muslim World’s Current Crises.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will deliver a keynote speech at the conference, which is expected to be attended by over 300 Muslim figures and scholars from 70 countries from Dec. 27-29. The conference is the 29th in a series of conferences and is organized by the Tehran-based World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought.

In his speech Turkish Directorate General of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) head Mehmet Görmez is expected to call for an end to sectarian conflicts in the Islamic world, while also drawing attention to the damage terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) inflict on religion, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Dec. 25.

While in Tehran, Görmez will hold talks with senior Iranian officials including Iranian Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Ali Jannati, the agency added.

Görmez’s visit to the neighboring country comes shortly after senior Turkish and Iranian officials engaged in a war of words over Syria, with each side accusing the other of lending support to terrorist organizations in a row which 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.

Turkey and Iran have opposing positions in Syria, with the former attempting to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the latter seeking to keep him in power due to its strategic interests.