Turkey urges Saudi Arabia, Iran to end tension

Turkey calls on Saudi Arabi and Iran to end growing diplomatic row and act with common sense

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Saudi Arabia and Iran must act with common sense

Updated Jan 5, 2016

Turkey called on Saudi Arabia and Iran to ease diplomatic tension following the execution of a prominent Shiite Muslim cleric.

“We want both countries to immediately come out of this tension that will obviously add severe tension to the current one in the Middle East,” Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said after a cabinet meeting in Ankara.

“The region is already on the verge of explosion.”

Kurtulmus also added that both of the countries which he described as being friendly countries to Turkey, as well as being important nations in the Islamic world, must act with common sense.

“It will harm both countries and the region if Saudi Arabia and Iran act in a hostile attitude towards each other,” he told reporters.

The tension between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia escalated after the execution of cleric Nimr Baqir al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia on Saturday. He was one of 47 people executed on Saturday over terror crimes.

Kurtulmus said that Turkey would not support the execution because Ankara opposed capital punishment.

"We recommend Iran to put all the diplomatic missions in Iran under protection in compliance with that agreement. Turkey abolished the death penalty. There is no way capital punishments, especially politically motivated ones, would contribute to peace in the region. We are against all instances of capital punishment especially when it is politically motivated," Kurtulmus said citing the Vienna Convention.

“We have always openly voiced our opposition to all kinds of death penalties,” he added.

Al-Nimr was arrested in July 2012. Before his arrest, he organised mass protests against the Saudi regime.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, pictured on December 10, 2015, said that all Iranian diplomats must leave Saudi Arabia within 48 hours (AFP)

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with regional rival Iran on Sunday after protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran, setting fires and causing damage. It urged diplomats to leave Iran within 48 hours.

According to the General Authority for Civil Aviation, the first group returned to Saudi Arabia late Monday.

Saudi Arabia also stopped all flights to and from Iran, the authority said on its Twitter account adding that measures would be taken to accommodate passengers with advance bookings.

Bahrain, the Shiite-majority Gulf state ruled by a Sunni family, and Sudan followed Riyadh in cutting relations with Iran on Monday and called for Iranian ambassadors in protest at the attacks on Saudi missions to leave.

The escalating tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran have also raised concerns across the world.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron condemned Riyadh's using of the death penalty and called on the two countries to improve relations.

“It is hugely concerning because of course we want to see stability in the Middle East… not least because that will be absolutely essential for solving the crisis in Syria,” Cameron told journalists in east London on Monday.

The US also called on Saudi Arabia and Iran to take steps to ease tensions on Monday.

"We are urging all sides to show restraint and not inflame tensions in the region," White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said.

TRTWorld and agencies