Iran summons Turkish ambassador over Erdogan’s poem on territorial integrity

December 11, 2020 - 18:38

TEHRAN – Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned Friday Turkey’s ambassador to Iran over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s controversial poem that was recited during a parade in Baku.

The poem implies that the Azeri-populated Iranian provinces of Azerbaijan were part of the Republic of Azerbaijan.  

“They separated the Aras River and filled it with rocks and rods. I will not be separated from you. They have separated us forcibly,” the poem says. Aras is a border river between the Republic of Azerbaijan and two ethnic-Azeri Turk majority provinces in Iran.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh announced on Friday afternoon that the Foreign Ministry summoned the Turkish ambassador in response to Erdogan’s “interventionist and unacceptable” remarks during his trip to Baku.

“Today, Friday, December 11, 2020, the Turkish ambassador in Tehran was summoned to the Foreign Ministry by the Assistant Minister and Director General of Eurasia, and while expressing strong protest, it was underlined to the ambassador that the Islamic Republic of Iran wants an immediate explanation from the Turkish government,” Khatibzadeh said in a statement.

He added, “During the summoning, the Turkish ambassador was informed that the era of territorial claims and warmongering and expansionist empires was over.”

Khatibzadeh also said that the Foreign Ministry told the ambassador that Iran will not allow anyone to interfere in the country’s territorial integrity.

“It was stressed to the Turkish ambassador that the Islamic Republic of Iran does not allow anyone to interfere in its territorial integrity and, as its glorious history shows, it will not compromise on its national security at all,” the spokesman stated.

Earlier on Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also responded to Erdogan’s poem, saying that the poem was wrong.

“Pres. Erdogan was not informed that what he ill-recited in Baku refers to the forcible separation of areas north of Aras from Iranian motherland. Didn't he realize that he was undermining the sovereignty of the Republic of Azerbaijan? NO ONE can talk about OUR beloved Azerbaijan,” the chief Iranian diplomat tweeted.

Zarif also published the same tweet in Persian, a language he rarely uses on Twitter. The Persian version of the tweet is slightly different from the English one.

“They didn’t tell Erdogan that the poem that he wrongly recited in Baku is related to the forcible separation of areas north of Aras from Iranian motherland,” Zarif said in the Persian tweet.

The Erdogan poem also sparked outrage among Iranians on social media platforms, with many users responding by publishing historical maps showing the Republic of Azerbaijan itself once was part of Iran.

Iranian former and current officials also responded to the controversial poem. Jalil Rahimi Jahanabadai, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said Erdogan’s positions do not ensure the security of the region.

“Erdogan's positions and slogans of pan-Turkism do not ensure the security of the region, nor are they in line with the interests and friendly relations between Iran and Turkey. Historically, important parts of the Middle East, Central Asia, beyond the Caucasus, even Europe and Africa, were once under Iranian control,” lawmaker Jahanabadai explained.

SM/PA

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