Erdogan: Iran making excuses to stall talks

Turkish PM says Tehran is insincere in suggesting Damascus or Baghdad to replace Istanbul as a venue to host nuclear talks.

April 5, 2012 19:25
1 minute read.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

ANKARA - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Iran was insincere in suggesting Damascus or Baghdad instead of Istanbul as possible venues for talks on its disputed nuclear program with six world powers next week.

"The offer going round at the moment, Damascus or Baghdad, is a waste of time, it means it won't happen, because they know the other side won't come to Damascus or Baghdad," Erdogan told a news conference in Ankara.

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"We have to be honest. Because of the lack of honesty they are continually losing their international prestige," he said. "This is not the language of diplomacy. The name of this is something else, but I won't say it here."

Turkey had offered to host the April 13-14 talks in Istanbul and the two sides had appeared to settle on Turkey's commercial hub as the venue, but Tehran then requested to change the location following friction with Ankara.

But after Erdogan's comments it would appear even more unlikely the talks will be held in Istanbul, and the lack of a venue could throw into question whether the negotiations will take place at all.

"This meeting is not something that will win us any prestige and we are not after any such prestige. Iran would be the winners with us here. Why? Because we would put forward for them a just approach," Erdogan said.

Tension between Turkey and Iran has risen this week after a senior Iranian figure spoke out against Turkey hosting the nuclear talks following the meeting in Istanbul on Sunday of the "friends of Syria" group of countries opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad, Iran's close Arab ally.

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