Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused Iran of trying to dominate the Middle East on Thursday and said its efforts have begun annoying Ankara, as well as Saudi Arabia and Gulf Arab countries.
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 Erdogan, 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.”
In an interview with France 24, Erdogan 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,” Erdogan said in comments dubbed to English.
“This is someone I know very well,” Erdogan 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.
The Syrian Coalition earlier expressed “full support for the military operation “Storm of Resolve” which arose in response to demands for the protection of Yemen and its people from the aggression practiced by the Iranian-backed Al-Houthi militias,” in a statement released yesterday.
“This Saudi-led move occurred in collaboration with the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Yemeni government and other Arab countries, in order to protect the Yemeni people from Iranian occupation and Al-Houthi militias. This decision represents a sound and deterrent step that paves the way for the formation of an alliance needed to address the Iranian regime’s plans to target the entire Arab region,” the statement said.
“The Syrian people, through their legal representative, urge brotherly and friendly countries to work on building a close alliance to finish off the Assad regime, thwart the ambitions of the Iranian regime, put an end to the destruction of Syria, and help Syrians achieve their legitimate aspirations,” the statement added. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Anadolu Agency)