Turkey's Erdogan says can't tolerate Iran bidding to dominate Middle East

Erdogan urges Iran to withdraw forces from Yemen and other Middle Eastern nations.

By REUTERS
March 26, 2015 21:15
1 minute read.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the press.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

ISTANBUL- Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Iran has been trying to dominate the Middle East and its efforts have begun annoying Ankara, as well as Saudi Arabia and Gulf Arab countries.

"It is really not possible to tolerate this. Iran has to understand," Erdogan told a press conference, adding that Tehran should withdraw any forces it has in Yemen as well as Syria and Iraq, and respect the territorial integrity of these countries.

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Turkey earlier said it supports the Saudi-led military operation against Houthi rebels in Yemen and called on the militia group and its "foreign supporters" to abandon acts which threaten peace and security in the region.

Meanwhile, the military spokesman of Saudi Arabia's operation in Yemen announced Thursday the Gulf nation has no immediate plans to launch ground operations inside the conflict zone, but its forces and those of its allies are ready to do so if needed.

"There are no plans at this stage for ground forces operations, but if the need arises, the Saudi ground forces and those of the friends and sisterly forces are ready and will repel any aggression," Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri told a news conference.

At a meeting in Egypt, Arab foreign ministers presented a unified military front as they agreed a draft resolution to form a unified military force.

The agreement came after warplanes from Saudi Arabia and Arab allies struck Shi'ite Muslim rebels fighting to oust Yemen's president on Thursday, in a major gamble by the world's top oil exporter to check Iranian influence in its backyard without direct military backing from Washington.

"The Arab ... ministers agreed on adopting an important principle, which is forming the unified Arab military force," Nabil Elaraby told reporters after the meeting in the resort of Sharm El-Sheik.

"The task of the force will be rapid military intervention to deal with security threats to Arab nations," Elaraby added.

The draft resolution will be referred to the Arab leaders during their March 28-29 summit in Egypt.


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