By Ali Kushki

Iran’s position on coup shows depth of ties: Turkish ambassador

July 24, 2016

TEHRAN – The Turkish ambassador to Tehran on Sunday hailed Iran’s prompt condemnation of the failed coup attempt in Turkey an indication of robust ties between the two regional powerhouses.

“The stance of Iranian officials on the coup shows how deep-rooted bilateral ties between the countries are,” said Riza Hakan Tekin, fielding numerous questions at a press briefing in the Turkish embassy in Tehran nine days after the coup.

Iran was the first country which laid into coup plotters in its neighboring country, voicing strong support for the democratic and legitimate government of Ankara.

While the position declared openly and promptly by Iranian officials was “quite satisfactory,” but it seems that Ankara was not unmindful of different massages inside Iran by Friday prayer leaders.

“Naturally, paying attention to some different stances expressed by Friday prayer leaders is required and I should say that the stances have been a source of concern for us,” said Haka Tekin in reply to a Turkish reporter.

On if Ankara has any intention to share the concern with Iranian officials, the ambassador said, “… we share this with our Iranian side.”

Most likely, the Turkish journalist was referring to Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, the interim Friday prayer leader of Tehran on July 22, who had said condemnation of the coup in Turkey does not mean President Erdogan should not be criticized.

Condemning the coup, Khatami had said Erdogan owed one apology for its “hypocritical behavior” towards Israel as well as one to “the victims of Daesh all around the world.”

‘No U-turn foreign policy shift in post-coup Turkey’

Pointing to the recent remarks of Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and President Erdogan, the ambassador rejected the possibility of a U-turn change in the Turkish foreign policy following the aborted coup,.

Turkish ambassador to Iran Riza Hakan Tekin says, “The stance of Iranian officials on the coup shows how deep-rooted bilateral ties between the countries are.”

On July 13, Yildirim had remarked, “It is our greatest and irrevocable goal: Developing good relations with Syria and Iraq, and all our neighbors that surround the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.”

“We normalized relations with Russia and Israel. I’m sure we will normalize relations with Syria as well. For the fight against terrorism to succeed stability needs to return to Syria and Iraq,” Yildirim further had said.

Also, in a phone call with President Rouhani, Erdogan had called for more cooperation between Iran, Russia, and Turkey.

However, Hakan Tekin believed these comments should not be taken to mean a big change in Turkey’s foreign policy, particularly with President Assad.

Iran and Turkey disagree over the future of Bashar al-Assad and this is not something hidden. Iran has also been supporting the Syrian government while Turkey backing the armed opposition groups.

“There is disagreement between Iran and Turkey over some regional issues and we believe attempts should be made to minimize disagreements in the current situation,” the ambassador stressed.

However, he suggested, for regional efforts to succeed all countries should take “one step back.”

‘Turkey’s recent regional stance not induced by economic downturn’

In reply to the Tehran Times question on if Turkey’s recent regional policies have been influenced by the economic drag Ankara has been feeling over the years of conflict in the region and Daesh-affiliated terror attacks in the country, the ambassador said, “No, I don’t think that is the case. Of course, it can be one factor but the real reason is beyond that.”

AK/PA

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