Iran slams 'ridiculous Zionist accusation' of terror cell in Turkey

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made a quick trip to Turkey to meet with the country's Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusogluuin.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a news conference with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Vladimir Putin of Russia following their meeting in Tehran, Iran September 7, 2018 (photo credit: Kirill Kudryavtsev/Pool via REUTERS)
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a news conference with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Vladimir Putin of Russia following their meeting in Tehran, Iran September 7, 2018
(photo credit: Kirill Kudryavtsev/Pool via REUTERS)

Iran's Foreign Ministry dismissed "baseless" reports it tried to target Israelis in Turkey as it accused Jerusalem of attempting to harm its ties with Ankara.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran’s response to the assassinations and acts of sabotage by the Zionist regime will always be definite, authoritative and without endangering the security of ordinary citizens or the security of other countries," the Iranian Foreign Ministry tweeted on Friday.

It spoke up one day after Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made a quick trip to Turkey to meet with the country's Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusogluuin after Turkish intelligence led to 10 arrests of members of an Iranian-backed terror cell in the Istanbul area. 

Lapid spoke of the plot at a joint press conference he held with Çavusogluuin.

 Foreign Minister Yair Lapid meets with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (credit: BOAZ OPPENHEIM/GPO) Foreign Minister Yair Lapid meets with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (credit: BOAZ OPPENHEIM/GPO)

"Just today it was published that Turkish intelligence recently foiled an Iranian plot in Istanbul. We are full of appreciation," Lapid said. 

"Iran is behind these terror attacks – intelligence leaves no doubt about it," he added. 

It was the second trip to Turkey by an Israeli official this year. President Isaac Herzog visited in March, as part of the sudden warming of ties between the two countries, whose governments have a history of tense relations. 

The renewal of diplomatic contact comes as relations have chilled between Ankara and Tehran, with Iran blaming Israel for stoking that tension. The "baseless accusations [and] allegations made by the Zionist regime’s FM in Ankara at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart was 'ridiculous' and part of a pre-planned scenario to deteriorate the relations between the two Muslim countries," Iran's Foreign Ministry tweeted. 

Israeli response

"For weeks now, Iranian terrorist cells have been trying to assassinate innocent Israelis on Turkish soil under the direction of the Iranian terrorist government."

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lior Haiat

For Iran to execute acts of terrorism on the soil of another sovereign state is another gross violation of all accepted norms of behavior" on Tehran's part, Haiat said.

"The Iranian regime chooses terrorism and incitement while the countries of the world strive and work for cooperation and closer relations between the peoples," he added.