Turkey’s president warned on Thursday that the Iranian regime is trying to dominate the region, adding that Ankara could provide “logistical support” to Saudi Arabia in its military operations against the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Following the United State’s withdrawal from Iraq, Iran has been steadily increasing their influence in the region. The advent of Islamic State and their rapid gains in Iraq and Syria left behind a power vacuum which Iran is trying to fill; making other Middle Eastern states uneasy over Iran’s ambition. This concern that has been voiced by several regional leaders and on Thursday Turkey added its estimation of the events into the public narrative.
Addressing a press conference in Ankara, the Turkish President Recap Erdogan said that “Iran is trying to dominate the region.”. “Can this be permitted? This has become an annoyance for us, as well as for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries,” he added. “This really cannot be tolerated.” He referred to Iran’s support of Shia militia groups in Iraq and Syria as a source of major concern.
The president also expressed grave concern over Iran’s role in the Yemen conflict. Iran’s financial and military support of the Houthi rebels has allowed them to move southwards from their territories and capture the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.
In a separate interview with France 24 on Thursday; Erdogan said that Ankara backed military intervention by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries against the Houthi rebels that are backed by the Iranian regime. “We support Saudi Arabia’s intervention,” Erdogan said. “Turkey may consider providing logistical support, depending on how the situation evolves,” he added.
Erdogan warned in his press conference that the Iranian regime must withdraw whatever forces it has in Yemen and Syria, and said Tehran is trying to take over Iraq.
“Iran has to … withdraw any forces, whatever it has in Yemen, as well as Syria and Iraq and respect their territorial integrity.”
He accused the Iranian regime of fighting Islamic State – or Daesh – in Iraq in order to boost its own power. Iran has “a sectarian agenda,” he said. Tehran “wants to fill the void that will be created by Daesh,” he added.