Politics

'Killing of Soleimani affects balances in Middle East'

Killing of Iranian top commander Qasem Soleimani affects security, stability of world, says Turkey’s ruling party spokesman

Gozde Bayar and Fahri Aksut   | 06.01.2020
'Killing of Soleimani affects balances in Middle East'

ANKARA

The consequences of the killing of Iran's Al-Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani directly affect balances in the Middle East, the spokesman of Turkey’s ruling party said on Monday.

"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," Omer Celik, the spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party said in the capital Ankara.

Celik added that the killing of Soleimani may lead to possibilities of new violence.

Soleimani, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds Force, was killed in a U.S. drone airstrike outside Baghdad airport on Friday.

Soleimani's death marked a dramatic escalation in tensions between the U.S. and Iran, which have often been at a fever pitch since President Donald Trump chose in 2018 to unilaterally withdraw Washington from a 2015 nuclear pact world powers struck with Tehran.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who gave Soleimani the country's highest honor last year, vowed "severe retaliation" in response to his killing.

Soleimani was the long-time commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds Force, which is designated a terror group by the U.S. The group is estimated to have 20,000 members.

Turkey's troop deployment to Libya

Referring to Turkey's plans for troop deployment to Libya, Celik stressed that Ankara would continue its diplomatic and ground efforts to ensure cease-fire and stability in the North African country.

Celik went on to say that the Turkish military would train groups who wanted to protect Libya's UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

Since the ouster of late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: Khalifa Haftar in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the Government of National Accord (GNA) in the capital Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

Turkey's parliament last week passed a motion allowing the deployment of troops in Libya for one year in order to respond to threats from illegitimate armed groups and other terror groups targeting both countries' national interests.

The motion also aims to provide security in Libya in the face of any possible mass migration and to provide Libyans with humanitarian aid. Turkish forces will be able to launch an "operation and [military] intervention" to protect Turkey's interests and prevent future irreparable situations, said the motion.

Referring to a mega-project to build a canal across European side of the Turkish metropolis Istanbul, Celik stressed that Canal Istanbul did not contradict with the 1936 Montreux Convention.

The 45-kilometer (nearly 28-mile) canal, to be built west of the city center on the European side of Istanbul, will connect the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara.

It is projected to have a capacity of 160 vessel transits a day.

Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits was a treaty that governs the movement of military ships through the strategic Bosphorus and Dardanelles waterways.

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