Erdogan calls for caution over blaming Iran for Saudi attacks

Published September 26, 2019
“I don't think it would be the right thing to do to blame Iran,” says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. — AFP/File
“I don't think it would be the right thing to do to blame Iran,” says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. — AFP/File

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for caution over blaming Iran for this month's attack on a Saudi Arabian oil facility in an interview with Fox News.

While Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the strikes on September 14, Riyadh, Washington and several European governments say Iran was responsible.

Tehran has denied any role in the strikes.

“I don't think it would be the right thing to do to blame Iran,” Erdogan said in the interview on Wednesday at the United Nations in New York.

“We need to recognise the fact that attacks of this scale come from several parts of Yemen.

“If we just place the entire burden on Iran, it wouldn't be the right way to go because the evidence available does not necessarily point to that fact,” he added, according to Fox News' translation of his comments.

The strikes on the Abqaiq plant and the Khurais oil field knocked out half of Riyadh's oil production which has since been largely restored.

Erdogan also criticised United States' sanctions on Iran, saying such measures “have never solved anything”.

He denied allegations that Turkey had helped Iran bypass sanctions in the past, saying these were allegations by government opponents.

“These are the allegations voiced by a terrorist organisation known as FETO who are behind the failed coup of July 2016 in Turkey,” Erdogan told Fox News.

“These allegations are more than wrong, these are all produced propaganda by the FETO terrorist organisation.”

Turkey refers to the movement of US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen as 'FETO' but the organisation denies involvement in the coup attempt and insists it is a peaceful group promoting education and Islam.

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