Rouhani tells Erdoğan to deny Israel support in region

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against supporting Israel in the region in a phone call the two leaders had on Wednesday.

“We believe it is dangerous to allow Israel to find support in the region,” Turkish news website Sol Haber cited Rouhani as telling Erdoğan. According to the left-wing news website, Rouhani also lauded regional cooperation for “security, peace and stability”.

The leaders also discussed economic relations between the two countries, Iran’s Mehr news agency reported.

The call came amid heightened tensions between Israel and Iran over a power failure in an Iranian nuclear site on Sunday, which Tehran blamed on Tel Aviv and responded with a strike on an Israeli ship.

Rouhani expressed hope for the upcoming Iran-Turkey Joint Economic Commission meeting in May, Mehr said, and the two leaders celebrated the Muslim holy month of Ramadan for each other and their respective nations.

Erdoğan emphasised Turkey’s “serious determination” to develop amicable relations with Iran, and congratulated the two countries’ joint efforts against the coronavirus pandemic, Mehr said. The Turkish president hasn’t released an official statement on the talk.

Iran also restarted negotiations with the United States last week to rescue the failed nuclear deal of 2015.

Turkey and Israel are currently at odds over competing interests in the Mediterranean. Israel is cooperating with Greece, Cyprus and Egypt for maritime natural gas deposits, to which Turkey says it and Cypriot Turks are entitled.