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Iran Summons Turkish Envoy over Comments by Foreign Minister | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu answers a question during an interview with Reuters in Ankara, Turkey, August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Iran summoned the Turkish ambassador in Tehran on Monday over comments made by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accusing Tehran of destabilizing the region.

Tehran and Ankara support opposite sides in the conflict in Syria with mostly Shi’ite Iran backing the authoritarian regime of Bashar al-Assad while Turkey has backed elements of the Syrian opposition.

On Sunday, Cavusoglu told delegates at a security conference in Munich, “Iran wants to turn Syria and Iraq into Shi’ite,” according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.

Cavusoglu also said Turkey was against any sectarianism in the Middle East and had called on Iran to stop threatening the region’s stability and security.

“We will be patient with their positions,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said on Monday in reference to the comments made in Munich, according to the Mehr News agency. “But there is a certain cap for our patience.”

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Numan Kurtulmus downplayed any reports of tension.

“Even if our political differences with Iran emerge, these shouldn’t be blown out of proportion,” he said.