US President Donald Trump expresses surprise at a statement, which has been wrongly attributed to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a symposium in Ankara, Turkey, January 2, 2020.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a symposium in Ankara, Turkey, January 2, 2020. (Reuters)

Turkey is deeply concerned about the situation in the region after the United States assassinated a top Iranian commander in Iraq.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, two days back with the message urging that all sides restraint from escalating the situation.

While Erdogan offered condolences to Rouhani over the killing of Qasem Soleimani, he did not call the leader of the Iranian militia a 'martyr', according to a Turkish official. 

The clarification came in wake of reports that wrongly attributed some words to Erdogan. 

The Iran's Embassy in Turkey tweeted details of Erdogan and Rouhani's conversation that implied that the Turkish President praised Soleimani with the highest praise given to fallen Muslim soldier. 

US President Donald Trump gave even more credence to the statement when he referred to it during a press conference on Tuesday. 

"I'm actually surprised to hear it," Trump said when asked what he thinks about Erdogan calling Soleimani a martyr. 

Soleimani, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds Force, was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq on Friday.

His death marked a dramatic escalation in tensions between the US and Iran, which have often been at a fever pitch since Trump chose in 2018 to unilaterally withdraw Washington from a 2015 nuclear pact world powers struck with Tehran.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who gave Soleimani the country's highest honour last year, vowed "severe retaliation" in response to his killing.

The Pentagon accused Soleimani of plotting the earlier embassy attack in Iraq and planning to carry out additional attacks on US diplomats and soldiers in Iraq and the region.

Soleimani was responsible for leading Iranian militias, which helped Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad push back an opposition onslaught. 

He was also active in Iraq where his fighters fought Daesh alongside coalition forces. 

Source: TRT World