We don’t want escalation with Iran: Presidential spokesperson
AA photoIran must appreciate Turkey’s efforts in its struggle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) instead of criticizing it, Turkish Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said Feb. 22 in response to Ali Akbar Velayati, a key advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said the people of Iraq and Syria would kick out Turkish soldiers if Ankara did not retreat from these countries.
“Iran is an important neighbor to us. We have always been in dialogue with Iran. But it does not mean we will ignore Iran’s efforts in penetrating the region,” Kalın told reporters in a press conference.
He said that Iran’s argument that their forces were deployed in Syria upon an invitation from the Syrian government was not valid in the eyes of Ankara as the regime in the war-torn country had no legitimacy.
Although Ankara is following critical statements from Iranian officials against Turkey, Ankara does not favor escalation with the neighboring country, he added.
Preparations for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, to meet in person before a NATO summit in May were underway, Kalın said.
He said the two leaders are almost definitely going to meet on the sidelines of the NATO summit but was working on efforts on getting them together even before that.
Kalın also said Erdoğan is expected to meet Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq President Massoud Barzani over the weekend.