Sep 07 2018

Erdoğan meets Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei after Syria talks

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has met with Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, after holding trilateral talks with the Iranian and Russian presidents Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin in Tehran, according to Khamenei’s website.

The Tehran summit had focused on the imminent Syrian regime attack on Idlib, the largest remaining rebel-controlled territory in Syria, whereas Erdoğan’s meeting with Khamenei appears to have centred on common ground shared by the two countries.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey are two powerful and dignified countries of the region and share the same motivations for the Muslim World; thus, political and economic relations between the two countries should expand,” read Khamenei’s statement on the meeting.

The Iranian Supreme Leader expressed his appreciation for Erdoğan’s supportive stances towards the Palestinian political movement and the Rohingya, a people who have faced forced displacement and massacres in Myanmar.

Both leaders expressed a belief that cooperation by Muslim countries was vital to resolve regional problems, as well as criticising the foreign policies of the United States and other Western countries.

Turkey and Iran have been at the receiving end of sanctions from the United States, which pulled out of a nuclear deal signed with Tehran in 2015.

“As a result of the behavior of the West towards independent Islamic countries, the situation has become extremely sensitive. For the same reason, solidarity and fraternity should expand, in particular, between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey,” Erdoğan stated during the meeting.

During the summit earlier on Friday, Erdoğan urged his Russian and Iranian counterparts to discourage their ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, from launching a widely expected assault on Idlib that international observers fear will lead to a humanitarian catastrophe.

 "If we can ensure a ceasefire here, this will be one of the most important steps of the summit, it will seriously put civilians at ease," the Turkish president told a joint press conference held with Rouhani and Putin.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday that an assault could leave as many as two million refugees heading for Turkey, which borders Idlib province.