Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu arrived in Tehran Wednesday in an official trip, to meet Iranian high-ranking officials. Given the unexpected nature of the trip, it seems that issues regarding Ankara’s military operation in Syria are high on Çavuşoğlu’s agenda.
کد خبر: ۷۷۲۲۷۸
تاریخ انتشار: ۱۸ بهمن ۱۳۹۶ - ۱۷:۰۲ 07 February 2018

Tabnak – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu arrived in Tehran Wednesday in an official trip, to meet Iranian high-ranking officials. Given the unexpected nature of the trip, it seems that issues regarding Ankara’s military operation in Syria are high on Çavuşoğlu’s agenda.

According to IRNA, after meeting with his counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday afternoon, Çavuşoğlu is also expected to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The meetings come as Iran, together with Russia, has recently started to criticize Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria.

In this vein, it seems that Ankara is trying to allay the concerns of its partners in Astana peace track regarding its goals and actions in Syria’s Afrin. To do so, Çavuşoğlu said on Tuesday that Turkey has no disagreements with Russia over its military operation in Afrin.

He said, “We do not have any disagreements with Russia. We continue our contacts with Russia,” which has been conducting an aerial campaign against terror groups in Syria at the request of Damascus.

“We need to inform each other in a timely manner, especially [regarding] air strikes and the developments in the field. We contact them in real time or in advance,” the Turkish official added.

On the other hand, Moscow has declared that Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are in regular contact to discuss the conflict in Syria.

Speaking to reporters on a phone call on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added that the leaders do not rule out the possibility of an in-person meeting on the topic, though no plans are currently in place.

Ankara launched the Afrin operation some two weeks ago after the US said it would work with Kurdish militants to set up a 30,000-strong border force near Turkey. The ‘Operation Olive Branch’ is currently focused on the Afrin region, but Turkey has said it could extend to the nearby Kurdish-controlled city of Manbij and beyond.

Shortly after the operation was launched, Moscow voiced concern about the Turkish attacks, calling on the sides to exercise restraint. The Russian Foreign Ministry also said the country’s troops had been withdrawn from the operation zone to “prevent potential” provocation.

Iran has also voiced opposition to the Turkish military operation in Syria, with President Hassan Rouhani saying on Tuesday that Ankara does not “have the permission of the [Syrian] government…and the consent of the people” for such an offensive.

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