Iran Blames Turkey for Prolonged Syrian Crisis

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian foreign ministry expressed regret over Turkey’s interference in Syria’s internal affairs, and said Ankara’s meddling has been a driving force behind the continued crisis in the neighboring Arab country.

“Unfortunately, Turkey’s interference in Syria’s internal affairs and its emphasis on deciding for the fate of the Syrian people has resulted in a prolonged war, displaced people and large human casualties in Syria,” a high-ranking foreign ministry official said on Tuesday.

“If Turkey hadn’t rocked the boat for its ambitious will and emotional differences, the Syrian issue would have been settled now,” the official added.

The remarks came in reaction to the Monday comments by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who had said there are differences with Iran over Syria which prevent the two countries’ cooperation in this field.

The Iranian foreign ministry official underlined the good relations between Iran and Turkey, and said, “Relations are progressing and expanding in different bilateral fields and we hope that repetition of such words will not impair this positive trend.”

Iran and Turkey signed 10 economic agreements during a visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the head of a high-ranking delegation to Turkey in June.

The value of trade between Iran and Turkey in the first half of 2014 stood at $6.5bln, according to data released by Turkish Statistical Institute.

Trade between Turkey and Iran stood at $22bln in 2012 before dipping to $14.5bln in the following year due to the economic sanctions imposed on Tehran by the West.

President Rouhani and his Turkish counterpart in a meeting in New York in September underlined their determination to do their best to widen and deepen Tehran-Ankara relations in all sectors.

In a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting, the two sides urged relevant officials to pave the ground for materialization of previously signed economic agreements’ objectives.

President Rouhani further invited Erdogan to visit Iran and attend the 2nd session of the two countries’ Joint Strategic Relations Council.

“Your visit will further boost our relations and accelerate their implementation trend,” added President Rouhani.

He also highlighted the shared stands of Iran and Turkey on major regional issues, adding that the two countries should hold dialogue and exchange viewpoints aimed at proximity on minor issues.

President Erdogan, for his part, attached great importance to his country’s relations with Iran.

The Turkish president meanwhile stressed that the previously signed bilateral agreements need to be fully implemented.

Erdogan also expressed hope that the level of Iran-Turkey annual bilateral trade would reach $30bln by the end of the year 2015.

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