Erdogan accuses US, Israel of ‘meddling’ in Iran, Pakistan

Problems in many Muslims countries, including ‘Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia,’ due to Western manipulation, Turkish president charges

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a four-finger (rabia) sign during a speech in Istanbul, December 15, 2017. (Ozan Kose/AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a four-finger (rabia) sign during a speech in Istanbul, December 15, 2017. (Ozan Kose/AFP)

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the United States and Israel on Friday of meddling in Iran after Turkey’s neighbor was gripped by several days of deadly unrest.

A total of 21 people died and hundreds were arrested in the week-long protests which were the biggest challenge to the Islamic regime since the 2009 mass demonstrations.

“We cannot accept that some countries — foremost the US, Israel — to interfere in the internal affairs of Iran and Pakistan,” Erdogan told reporters before heading on a trip to France.

“It is turning the people against each other in these countries. It’s a shame that we have seen this done in many nations… We saw this in Iraq.”

Erdogan did not expand on the nature of the alleged meddling in Pakistan but on Thursday the US announced a freeze in deliveries of military equipment and security funding until Pakistan cracks down on jihadists.

The Turkish president then referred to problems in “Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia” and in African countries including Sudan and Chad.

He claimed a “game was being played” in certain countries, which he noted were all Muslim-majority nations.

“They are taking steps towards making the plentiful underground riches in all these countries their own resources,” he said.

“Sorry, these realities should be known by our people and all people,” he said.

Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke on Wednesday in a call in which the Turkish leader gave his support for the return of “peace and stability” to Iran.

Erdogan on Friday praised Rouhani’s statements that the street protests were the people’s “democratic right,” saying this had helped normalize the situation.

Turkey’s conservative media had previously accused the US and Israel of stoking the Iran protests as part of a purported plot to transform the Middle East.

Erdogan has on occasion criticized Iran’s “Persian imperialism” in the Middle East amid bouts of tension in the Turkey-Iran relationship.

But relations between Ankara and Tehran have warmed since the two countries worked closely with Russia in the last few months in battling Islamic State in the Syrian conflict.

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