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Turkey ‘astonished’ by Iranian charges of IS support




Turkey on Sunday said it was “astonished” by Iranian accusations that Ankara is supporting Islamic State and involved in oil dealing with the jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said in a statement there was nothing in Tehran’s accusations to take “seriously.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday he had warned his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani over some Iranian media reports that he and his family were involved in oil trade with IS jihadists.

Erdogan said that he spoke with Rouhani on the phone and told him: “You will pay a high price if it continues like that.” He added that the Iranians later removed the news from their website.

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Bilgic confirmed the telephone conversation between the two presidents and said any attempts to distort its content were “not only immoral but also equal to hiding the truth from neighbouring Iranian people.”

In response to Erdogan, Iranian foreign ministry on Friday called for “mutual politeness and respect in relations,” according to the Iranian media.

“The continuation of policies and positions that, wanted or unwanted, have led to the support of terrorism in Syria and Iraq, only escalate the current crisis in the region and increase problems for countries that continue such policies,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber-Ansari said according to IRNA.

Russia and Iran are major backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Turkey is supporting rebels who have been fighting Assad and has joined a US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Syria earlier this year.

Bilgic said Turkey pursued “principled policies” for a peaceful solution to problems in its region.

He said Ankara was not taking “seriously the terrorism accusations made by the states which led to the escalation of the crisis in cooperation with the Damascus regime,” referring to Iran and Russia.

Turkey is currently at loggerheads with Russia after downing one of Moscow’s warplanes on November 24.

Russia has accused Erdogan and his family of involvement in oil trade — charges blasted as “slander” and “immoral” by the Turkish strongman.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said last month that Turkey’s downing of the Russian fighter jet “sends the wrong message to the terrorists” in Syria.

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