Turkey’s President Erdoğan Says can’t Tolerate Iran Bid to Dominate Middle East
Turkey earlier said it supports the Saudi-led military operation against Houthi rebels in Yemen and called on the militia group and its “foreign supporters” to abandon acts which threaten peace and security in the region.
“Iran is trying to dominate the region,” said Erdoğan, who is due to visit Tehran in early April. “Could this be allowed? This has begun annoying us, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries. This is really not tolerable and Iran has to see this,” he added in a press conference.
Erdogan said the conflict has evolved into a sectarian one and urged Iran to withdraw. “Iran has to change its view. It has to withdraw any forces, whatever it has in Yemen, as well as Syria and Iraq and respect their territorial integrity.”
Erdogan’s plans to visit Iran had not changed, his spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, told journalists earlier on Thursday without giving a specific date.
In an interview with France 24, Erdoğan also criticized Iran’s role in the fight against Islamic State in Iraq, saying Tehran was aiming to drive out the Sunni insurgents only to replace them.
“Iran’s attitude towards the matter is not sincere because they have a sectarian agenda. So they will want to fill the void that will be created by Daesh (Islamic State) themselves,” Erdoğan said in comments dubbed to English.
“This is someone I know very well,” Erdoğan said, referring to Soleimani. “Yes, he is part of the operations in Iraq. So what is their objective? To increase the power of Shi’ite in Iraq. That’s what they want,” he said.