Turkey expresses concern over attacks on oil tankers in Gulf of Oman

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PHOTO: BBC

Turkey on Thursday expressed concern over attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

“We are concerned that commercial ships in the Gulf region have been targeted for second time in the last one month,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“We attach importance to the maintenance of the safety of navigation in the Gulf region, which has a strategic location in terms of international maritime transport.”

The two tankers, Marshall Islands-flagged and Panama-flagged, were on their way to Taiwan and Singapore from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, respectively.

At least one of the tankers attacked near the Strait of Hormuz was operated by a Japanese company, Japan’s Kyodo news agency quoted Japanese Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko as saying.

The tanker is operated by the Tokyo-based Kokuka Sangyo Co., according to Kyodo.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has said the attacks were “suspicious” for having been perpetrated during talks between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with the country’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on the other hand, blamed Iran for the attacks on the two oil tankers.

Late last month, the UAE said four vessels, including two oil tankers, were sabotaged near its territorial waters, without blaming anyone for the attacks.

Saudi Arabia had also said military drones carried out attacks on two oil pump stations on the East-West pipeline, which carries oil from the port of Yanbu on the country’s Red Sea coast.

Riyadh blamed Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen for the attacks.

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