Iran and Turkey are two neighbors with extensive political, economic and cultural ties which have strengthened Tehran-Ankara relations.
Sometimes, though, the policies of the two countries differ on a particular issue. Turkey, for example, took the side of the rebels at the outset of the Syrian crisis and for a time, it even became a terminal for the transfer of weapons and terrorists of other countries to Syria.
In addition, it is only natural that a government official or the media of the two countries criticize the policy of the other side on a particular issue, which is one of the signs of democracy and freedom of expression.
One of the cases recently criticized by Iranian officials and media is Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria, codenamed by Turkey as Operation Peace Spring.
Whether or not the attack is legitimate under international law or other international regulations is not our concern here, but rather to point out a number of facts to the Turkish president.
The Turkish president on Tuesday said he was upset by some statements by Iran on Ankara’s operation in Syria. “Various statements are unfortunately coming from Iran. But they don’t come from Rouhani. Mr. Rouhani should better force them to keep silence,” Erdogan stated.
Iran has been involved in the nuclear case for 20 years, and everyone knows what Turkey’s position had been during this time. Now “Some cracked voices are raising from Iran. Not only from Rouhani, but from his fellows as well. Of course, these needed to be silenced especially by Mr. Rouhani,” he said.
“We are the three countries (Turkey, Russia, Iran) of the Sochi agreement. How will we carry out this process? Can partnered countries betray each other like this?” he questioned.
Difference between Iran and Turkey
One should remind Erdogan that Iranian media enjoy freedom and they cannot be forced to obey the government and tell whatever the government wishes.
However, in the case of Turkey’s attack on northern Syria, Foreign Minister Zarif had also pointed criticism at Ankara. Tehran has announced that it understands Turkey’s security concerns but military measures cannot be a solution to this problem.
“The imperative now is to end the incursion into #Syria & address all concerns through #ADANA. Meanwhile, it is essential that the core principles of JUS IN BELLO are fully observed: distinction between civilians and combatant, & prohibition on inflicting unnecessary suffering,” Zarif wrote in a tweet on October 15.
Earlier and in an interview with TRT, Zarif highlighted that security will not be achieved through acts of aggression and invasion against Syria and that Iran has offered better options to Turkey to settle the issue.
Turkey is the fifth country in the world with the most jailed journalists. Critics and the members of the media could face imprisonment for criticizing their in Turkey; but the situation is different in Iran.
In fact, war comes with destruction and ugliness, and whether President Receb Tayeb Erdogan likes it or not, the modern technologies and media will not let him hide the ugly face of war.
Is it normal for a president to ask a counterpart of his to silence the opposing voices in their country?
Recognizing other countries’ sovereignty and not interfering in their internal affairs are vital issues that should be respected by all world leaders, not only in words, but also in deeds.