Turkish, Iranian presidents discuss regional stability

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before a meeting at Turkey's Presidential Palace in Ankara on December 20, 2018. (Reuters)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey will not allow any entities seeking to harm regional security.

Ankara and Tehran can take many joint steps to end clashes and ensure peace in the region, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.

“There are so many steps that Turkey and Iran can take together to end the clashes in our region and ensure a peaceful environment,” Erdogan said at a news conference with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in the capital Ankara.

Erdogan said Turkey did not allow any entities seeking to harm the security of the country and the region, adding that it would not all allow them in the future.

Ankara and Tehran have a strong will to increase cooperation in this regard, he stressed.

The president also said Turkey does not approve of the US sanctions on Iran since it leads to destabilisation in the region.

“We will continue to be in solidarity with brotherly Iran at a time when pressures on Iran mounts which we find unjust,” Erdogan added.

In August, the US re-imposed a first round of sanctions that mainly targeted Iran’s banking sector.

A second phase of sanctions – targeting Iran’s energy sector – came into effect on November 5, although Washington granted a 180-day reprieve to the eight largest buyers of Iranian oil, including Turkey.

Talks follow high-level Syria talks in Geneva

Analysts supportive of the US role in Syria say its presence has limited Tehran’s influence as a key Assad supporter.

Ankara has called in the past for Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad’s ouster and supports anti-regime opposition fighters. Tehran and Moscow have been Damascus’s strongest allies and helped to turn the war in Assad’s favour.

Despite their differences, Turkey has been working closely with Iran and Russia to find a political solution to the war through the Astana process launched last year.

The Turkish, Iranian and Russian foreign ministers met on Tuesday in Geneva for talks with UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura. They said they hoped a committee tasked with writing a new Syrian constitution would start work early next year.

Turkey and Iran are regional powers that have focused in recent years on developing a pragmatic relationship and boosting trade.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies
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