Erdogan: Iran’s condemnation of Syria offensive is out of line

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reminded Iranian officials that they should not forget what Turkey has done for them during the nuclear crisis with the West in response to a question about Iranian condemnation of Turkey’s military offensive in northeast Syria.

Erdogan was speaking to reporters at the airport in Ankara on Tuesday morning before leaving for the Black Sea resort of Sochi to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and discuss Turkey’s operation against Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), among other issues.

“Some of the statements about the operation have caused serious sadness to me, of course these voices are outside the government and we will pursue this issue seriously” the Turkish broadcaster TRT quoted Erdogan saying. “Not [President] Rouhani himself but some of his close friends have issued oppositional statements… Mr. Rouhani should have prevented these statements.”

Erdogan reminded his Iranian counterpart that he should not forget “Erdogan’s stance,” referring to his taking Iran’s side in its dispute with the West over Tehran’s nuclear program.

“Iran is part of the Astana process and taking such a position against a member of the process is not right. How are the countries guaranteeing the Astana process supposed to continue their work?” Erdogan asked. The Astana process refers to ongoing peace talks between Syrian rebel groups and a government delegation that first took place in December 2016, sponsored by Russia, Turkey, and Iran.