Turkish, Iranian leaders discuss Nagorno-Karabakh, Syrian conflicts by phone
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iranian President Hasan Rouhani have discussed recent regional developments following Armenian attacks against Azerbaijani territories, as the former reiterated that Armenia’s targeting of civilians is a war crime.
A statement issued by the Presidential Communications Directorate said the two leaders have talked about matters that would improve Turkey-Iran relations and strengthen cooperation in the fight against terror, as well as regional matters, the Azerbaijan-Armenia issue and Syria in particular.
On the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict Erdoğan has underscored that “the attacks Armenia, which has caused a crisis with its occupation and attacks on Azerbaijani lands, is conducting against civilians constitute a war crime.”
Erdoğan also noted that it is important on this issue to be in a position where the right and the wrong as well as the occupied party and the occupying party are distinguished from one another.
Iran was following a rather balanced policy concerning the fighting between its two northern neighbors, calling them on to return to negotiations for resolving the problem.
Rouhani, for his part, emphasized the importance of preserving the security of Iranian border cities, stressing that “war is not the solution while the issues should be resolved through negotiations,” according to Iranian news agencies.
“I believe that Iran and Turkey as two powerful countries in the region and also Russia can help establish peace and stability in the region,” Rouhani added.
Idlib on agenda
The two presidents also reviewed developments in Syria, as both countries along with Russia, are members of the Astana Group.
According to the directorate’s statement, Erdoğan stressed that “acting jointly against the PKK/YPG terrorist organization, which threatens Syria’s unity and integrity, and preserving the ceasefire in Idlib are necessary in order for the joint efforts aimed at establishing stability to yield positive result.”
Turkey and Russia have agreed on a new status quo in Idlib province of Syria earlier this year, enhanced through joint military observation mission along the M4 highway.
Rouhani, too, pointed to cooperation between Iran, Turkey and Russia for finding a solution to the Syrian question within the framework of Astana. He expressed his hopes for this cooperation to result in ending terrorism in the region and maintaining Syria’s territorial integrity, according to Iranian media.
The two leaders also mentioned good bilateral ties with hopes to further strengthen them in the coming period.