Turkey in touch with US, Iran to de-escalate tension after killing of Soleimani: minister

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Turkey will work to de-escalate tensions between Iran and the United States and has been in contact with both parties after US forces killed a top Iranian military commander last week, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Monday, Reuters reported.

Since the US killing of Qassem Soleimani, Tehran’s most prominent military commander, Çavuşoğlu said he has had phone calls with his Iranian and US counterparts to discuss it.

Asked if Turkey would be open to mediating between Tehran and Washington, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey would support any steps to ease tensions in the region. “We will continue to work with other countries to solve this problem or de-escalate tension in the coming days,” he said.

“Our common concern is Iraq turning into a conflict zone for other countries. This is a very serious risk for Iraq and our region,” Çavuşoğlu added. “Therefore, we will continue to do whatever we can to reduce the cycle of violence.”

The United States last week killed Soleimani, the architect of Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East, in an overnight attack in Baghdad authorized by President Donald Trump.

Iran has promised retaliation and on Friday condemned Trump as a “terrorist in a suit.”

Iraq’s parliament on Sunday called for US and other foreign military forces to leave amid a growing backlash against the Soleimani’s killing, which has heightened fears of a wider Middle East conflict.

Çavuşoğlu said the parliament’s decision was not binding, adding that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had urged his Iraqi counterpart to act with reason.

“The killing of Soleimani may lead to radical groups gaining strength,” he said.

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