Turkey: Soleimani killing poses ‘serious risk’ to regional peace

January 6, 2020 - 20:48

TEHRAN — Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday that the United States’ assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani poses a “serious risk” to peace in the region.

“The killing of Soleimani is a serious risk for peace in the region,” Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara on Monday, Press TV reported.

“We will work with other countries to reduce tensions between the U.S. and Iran,” Cavusoglu said.

He said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had held phone conversations with President Hassan Rouhani as well as his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani about the assassination. 

The Turkish minister noted that Erdogan will also discuss the latest developments with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Turkey on Wednesday.

"Mr. President and Putin will address these issues personally. We all have a common concern that Iraq should not turn into a conflict zone for other countries," he said.

Speaking in an interview with broadcaster CNN Turk on Sunday, Erdogan said he believed “killing the most senior commander of a country will not remain unanswered.”

He noted that he was surprised by the assassination because it occurred just hours after a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump during which he “especially had suggested that tensions with Iran should not be heightened.”

Soleimani was martyred in a U.S. airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport on Friday morning.

According to the Pentagon, General Soleimani was assassinated on Donald Trump’s order.

The U.S. airstrike also martyred Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU).

Iran has vowed to take a “tough revenge” for Soleimani’s blood.

On Saturday, Trump claimed that his military would hit “very important” targets, including cultural heritage sites, if the Iranians want to take a retaliatory action against the assassination of General Soleimani.

“We have ... targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran,” said Trump in a tweet while making a reference to the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 during which 52 Americans were taken hostage. 

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday responded to Trump, saying, “Through MILLENNIA of history, barbarians have come and ravaged our cities, razed our monuments and burnt our libraries.”

However, Zarif said, “Where are they now? We’re still here, & standing tall.” 

MH/PA

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