TEHRAN – Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Gumrukcu has said the fact that Iran and Turkey have differing views on some international issues has not undermined the friendly relationship between the two countries.
“The relationship between Iran and Turkey is long-standing. Some disagreements have occurred in bilateral relations in the past, but the disagreements have never damaged the friendly relationship between the two countries,” Mr. Gumrukcu said in a press conference in Tehran on Tuesday in response to a question about the impact of the two countries’ differing policies toward some international issues, such as the Syrian crisis, on Iran-Turkey ties.
Despite disagreements, there has been a significant increase in trade between Iran and Turkey, he said, adding that the two sides had always tried to resolve their disagreements through holding talks and exchanging views and prevent the disagreements from negatively affecting their cooperation.
Commenting on the meetings of a contact group on Syria comprising Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, Mr. Gumrukcu said that Turkey attached high importance to those negotiations because they would provide a good opportunity for four important regional countries to find a solution to the crisis.
He also said that Turkey would support every effort meant to help resolve the issue.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi had put forward the proposal for the establishment of the contact group to help defuse the Syrian crisis during an emergency Islamic summit held in Mecca on August 14 and 15, 2012.
On the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria, he said that the Turkish government’s principled policy was to oppose any use of weapons of mass destruction, adding that Turkey regarded the use of such weapons as a crime against humanity.
He went on to say that Ankara had announced that the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria should be immediately investigated by relevant international organizations and the world’s people should be informed about the truth behind the incident.
According to Reuters, the White House said on April 25 that the Syrian government had probably used chemical arms on a small scale, but that President Barack Obama needed proof before he would act.
Syria, which has so far denied access to UN investigators because of a dispute over their remit, denies firing chemical weapons and accuses armed rebels of using them.
On the idea of the imposition of a no-fly zone over Syria, Mr. Gumrukcu said that Turkey believed that all solutions to stop bloodshed in Syria should be examined at international organizations and practical measures should be taken.
He also said that Turkey was seeking the establishment of a transitional government in Syria and an end to the bloodshed in the crisis-hit Arab country.
According to the New York Times, so far, the United States has taken limited military steps in Syria but has sent supplies like night-vision goggles and body armor to the rebels fighting the Syria government. But now, Senators Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and others would like the United States to do more, possibly by arming the rebels or establishing a no-fly zone to neutralize Syria’s air defense, though they disagreed on the particulars.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Turkish official dismissed as “fabricated” and “meaningless” the news reports claiming that Turkey had agreed to allow Israel to use its air bases if it decided to launch air strikes on Iran.
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