Turkey and Iran's war of words on Syria


Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi (L) and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu arrive for a meeting in Ankara, on August 7, 2012. Turkey can play a 'major role' in freeing 48 Iranian pilgrims abducted in Syria because of its links with the Syrian opposition, Iran's foreign minister said on Tuesday.



The Turkish Foreign Ministry is strongly condemning comments made by Hassan Firouzabadi, a top Iranian army officer, who blamed Ankara for the violence in Syria and claimed that Turkey would be next.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Reuters, “Such statements have the potential to harm Iran as well."

Davutoglu added that the Turkish government had clearly explained their position to Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, adding, “We would expect these officials, both in Turkey and Iran, to think a few times before making any comments. Our position on the issue was explained to Mr. Salehi in a frank and friendly manner."

Reuters noted that the once strong relationship between the two non-Arab countries has been tarnished by the events in Syria, including the kidnapping of 48 Iranians near Damascus. Syrian rebels branded the Iranians as spies assisting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s crackdown on the uprising, according to the Associated Press. Davutoglu has stated he will assist in freeing the Iranians, but that may not be enough to smooth tensions between the two nations.

According to Reuters, Turkey has demanded President Bashar al-Assad step down, while Iran continues to support his suppression of an uprising.

Beyond blaming Turkey for the violence in Syria, Firouzabadi also accused Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar of helping the “war-raging goals of America," according to Turkish Weekly. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement, “Turkey’s foreign policy acts in the guidance of its own goals and principles and it has a big state tradition."

For full coverage on the Syrian conflict, visit GlobalPost's series Inside Syria