Turkish President To US, Iran: Rachet Down Tensions

By Janet Ekstract 
ISTANBUL (TURKISH JOURNAL)- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is urging both the U.S. and Iran to rachet down tensions after the U.S. airstrike that targeted Special Forces Quds Commander Qassem Soleimani. Erdogan said: “Tensions between the U.S. and Iran should be controlled and defused.’

Meanwhile, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party spokesman Omer Celik commented: “Developments have been triggered by the killing of Soleimani that will have negative consequences on the security and stability of Iraq, the region and the world.”

In an interview on January 5 with George Stephanopoulos of ABC Week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said President Trump did “the right thing” by eliminating Soleimani. Pompeo reiterated that Soleimani was a “very bad guy” who was responsible for numerous deaths of Syrians, Iraqis and scores of others. 

Pompeo added that Soleimani was actively planning attacks directed at U.S. interests and Americans. He said that Soleimani was plotting even further mayhem.

Despite Pompeo’s support for Soleimani’s demise  -one crucial point remains and that is the fact that Trump.chose not to inform Congress or anyone else except his top advisors.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that there would be a motion circulating to limit Trump’s military action with regard to Iran. Prominent democrats as well as some prominent Republicans have spoken out against Trump’s airstrike and warned that the president’s renegade style is out of step with reality. 

When Pompeo was asked about the oresident’s tweet, threatening to strike Iran’s cultural sites, Pompeo skirted the question but reiterated that whatever move the U.S. makes in the future will be “within the law.”

In the meantime, Defense Secretary Mark Esper reassured those critical of Trump’s threats that the U.S. would remain within international legal parameters in the event of a future airstrike.

In light of regional tensions, Erdogan held phone talks with Iran ‘s Hassan Rouhani and Iraq’s Barham Salih, discussing the latest developments in the region as well as bilateral relations, sources said. 

Sources indicated that Erdogan and Salih stressed that regional and international cooperation is necessary to resolve crises in the region.

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