Turkey backs stability, security in neighboring Iran, Erdogan tells Rouhani

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country attaches high significance to stability and security in neighboring Iran.

In reaction to recent protests in some cities in Iran, Erdogan said in a telephone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday that Turkey regarded Iran’s stability and security as that of its own.

Referring to Western media reports and remarks made by certain US and Israeli officials with respect to the protests, the Turkish president said his country was familiar with the West’s media propaganda campaign and “hackneyed, meddlesome” comments by the US president and Israeli prime minister.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Erdogan said Turkey was keen to expand all-out relations with Iran, including in the banking sector.

He also praised Tehran-Ankara cooperation on the establishment of regional stability, including their interaction in the Astana and Sochi talks over Syria.

Rouhani, for his part, said the Iranian people were free to protest within the framework of law, adding that the nation’s security was of high significance to the government, which would not sit idly by in the face of any act of violence or illegal measure.

He also praised Tehran-Ankara cooperation in different sectors, including politics, security and economy, and expressed hope that the two countries would take a big leap towards the expansion of bilateral ties in 2018.

Iran is resolved to reinforce its ties with Turkey, Rouhani said, adding, “Tehran-Ankara cooperation and their active participation in the Sochi and Astana negotiations over Syria have contributed to the strengthening and development of security in the region, and this process would continue to achieve full stability and security in the region.”

Last week, a number of peaceful protests over economic problems started in several Iranian cities, but those gatherings turned violent when groups of participants, some of them armed, vandalized public property and launched attacks on police stations and government buildings.

Over a dozen people have been killed in the ensuing violence, according to state media reports.

On Wednesday, Iranians from all walks of life took to the streets in several cities to condemn the violence.