23 May 2024
Wednesday 19 December 2012 - 13:15
Story Code : 14723

Turkey, Iran close to the point of no return on ties

mahmoud-ahmadinejad-september-2009.previewOn Dec. 14 Anatolia news agency reported that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was set to pay a one-day visit to Konya to attend the ceremony marking the 739th anniversary of the passing of the great Sufi mystic Mevlana Celaddiin-i Rumi.
The report came only a few hours after U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta paid a snap visit to the ?ncirlik base, one of the most strategic military bases in the Middle East, where he confirmed that Washington would deploy two Patriot batteries to Turkey.

On Dec. 15 Irans military chief of staff, Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi issued a stern warning toTurkeyand argued that the deployment of Patriot systems was part of a Western plot to create a world war. This very strongly worded criticism was followed by reports of Ahmadinejads cancellation of his scheduled trip the afternoon of Dec. 16.

While journalists were trying to find out the real reason behind the cancellation, Irans foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi took the floor and called the Turkish move of deploying Patriots provocative. The deployment of Patriot missiles will achieve nothing but to provoke and, God forbid, result in being forced into an uncalculated action, he said.

The Turkish response came from Foreign MinisterAhmet Davuto?luyesterday. His strident statement focused on Irans continued support of one of the worlds most brutal regimes, killing and even bombing its own people.

Instead of criticizing the [Patriot] system,Iranshould say stop to the Syrian regime, which has been continuously oppressing its own people and provokingTurkeythrough border violations, Davuto?lu said in Ankara. It is time to send clear messages to the Syrian regime.

Even at the most strained times, Turkish and Iranian officials were paying utmost attention not to engage in a war of words and to resolve the problem behind closed doors. However, accusations from the Iranian side were so strong that they could not be left unanswered.

For Faruk Lo?o?lu, deputy leader of the Republican Peoples Party (CHP), this tension between two neighbors is getting much more dangerous and could potentially hurt regional stability. Calling both sides to a constructive dialogue, the veteran diplomat recalled that reconciliation between the two countries was also vital for the resolution of regional problems as well.

The heightening character of the tension between the two countries was first seen whenTurkeydecided to deploy NATOs early warning radar system in 2011.Iranregarded the move as a threat and threatened to hit theNATOfacility in the case of an attack from the West.

For Iran, deployment of Patriots is yet another offensive move coming fromNATOand an indication that the alliance is increasing its military presence in the region. The course of developments is rapidly bringing the two countries to the point of no return in their ties, unlessAnkaraand Tehran decide to enter into a constructive dialogue.

By Hurriyet Daily News


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