Russia-Turkey Row Against Regional Interests

Russia-Turkey Row Against Regional InterestsRussia-Turkey Row Against Regional Interests

A senior official said ongoing tensions between Moscow and Ankara will not serve the interests of regional countries, urging all-out efforts to help end the row.

Both Turkey and Russia "are our neighbors and we do not want to see any tension between [our] neighboring countries, with whom we have friendly relations", Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, said in Tehran on Saturday, Press TV reported. Speaking to reporters following a meeting with senior Turkish Shia cleric Sheikh Salahuddin Ozgunduz, Velayati noted that tensions between Russia and Turkey will serve the interests of neither countries nor those of other regional states.

Tensions between Ankara and Moscow have been escalating since Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border. On November 24, Turkey shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber with two pilots aboard, claiming the fighter jet had violated Turkish airspace.

One of the pilots lost his life following the attack while the other was rescued in a Syrian Army operation. Moscow has dismissed Ankara's claims, saying the plane was targeted in Syria's airspace, where Russia has been conducting operations against militants since September 30 upon the request of the Damascus government.

Following the incident, Moscow imposed a number of punitive measures against Ankara, including import restrictions on Turkish foods, a ban on tourist travel to Turkey, an embargo on hiring Turkish citizens in Russia and a ban on Turkish organizations' activities in Russia. Velayati hoped that Iran and Turkey will improve cooperation with other regional countries, including Iraq and Syria, to thwart US and Zionist-led plots aimed at disintegrating Muslim states.

"If there is a difference among regional countries or Muslim states, it should be settled through dialogue and [we] should not interfere in each other's internal affairs," he said.