Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also says that the Middle East has to be cleansed of all nuclear weapons, in an apparent reference to Israel which is believed to be the only nation in the region to possess them.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that countries with nuclear weapons were “threatening the world”, and criticised the United States’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
“Those who have more than 15,000 nuclear warheads are currently threatening the world,” he said, referring to the approximate total number of warheads worldwide, most of which are held by the US and Russia.
He added, “Why are countries with nuclear warheads posing a threat to them?”
“If we are to be fair, to show a just approach, then the countries with nuclear weapons, which portray nuclear power stations as threats, have no credibility in the international community,” he said at an iftar dinner for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Erdogan said the Middle East had to be cleansed of all nuclear weapons, in an apparent reference to Israel, believed to be the only nation in the region to possess them.
US President Donald Trump recently withdrew from the deal between Tehran and six major powers which limited Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. Trump ordered that sanctions be reimposed.
Earlier on Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded Iran take additional steps such as pulling out of the Syrian civil war.
Tehran dismissed Washington’s ultimatum and a senior Iranian official said it showed the US was seeking “regime change” in Iran.
The US withdrawal from the nuclear deal comes as relations between NATO member Turkey and Washington have soured over a host of issues, ranging from US policy in Syria to Trump’s decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
France, Germany and the UK have said they will try to save the nuclear deal with Tehran.
“As Turkey, we do not accept re-igniting issues, including the Iran nuclear deal, that have been put to bed. We find the other signatories stating their loyalty to the agreement in the face of the US administration’s decision very positive,” Erdogan said.