Iran Stirs the Pot, Blames Turkey Ally Saudi Arabia for Failed Coup

People chant slogans during a pro-government rally in central Istanbul's Taksim square, Saturday, July 16, 2016. Forces loyal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan quashed a coup attempt in a night of explosions, air battles and gunfire that left some hundreds of people dead and scores of others wounded Saturday. …
AP Photo/Bram Janssen

Regional rivals Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran, in a rare show of consensus, welcomed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regained control after the failed military coup attempt against his government.

However, Iran has claimed the Saudi Kingdom was “involved” in the insurrection led by several segments of the Turkish army, which considers itself the guardian of the country’s secular constitution.

An Iran Front Page translation of a report by the Javan Online news outlet further reveals that Hossein Sheikholeslam, an advisor to the Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, also blamed the United States, Israel, and Egypt, in addition to Saudi Arabia, for the coup attempt.

Except for Egypt, all the countries accused by the Iranian advisor condemned the revolt and expressed support for Erdogan’s government.

According to Iran’s state-controlled Fars News Agency (FNA), Gholamreza Jafarzadeh, an Iranian lawmaker, quoted the Islamic Republic’s Foreign Minister (FM) Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying, “We conclude that Saudi Arabia has likely been involved in this coup.”

Zarif’s comments reportedly came during a closed session of the Iranian parliament.

Iran’s state-controlled Press TV quotes the Iranian FM as also saying:

Some countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar preferred the escalation of the attempted coup against the Turkish government.

Via Twitter, Zarif hailed the Turkish people’s “defense of democracy & their elected government,” which he said “proves that coups have no place in our region and are doomed to fail,” reports Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya.

Zarif also tweeted, “Stability, democracy & safety of Turkish people are paramount. Unity & prudence are imperative.”

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman called Erdogan to congratulate him for remaining in control of his country, notes Al Arabiya. 

Citing a source from the kingdom’s foreign ministry, the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reports that the country’s authorities had followed “with great concern,” the coup attempt which threatened to “destabiliz[e]” Turkey’s “security and stability.”

SPA notes:

The source expressed the kingdom’s welcome that things are returned to normal led by his Excellency President Tayyip Erdogan and his elected government and in line with the constitutional legitimacy and the will of the Turkish people…

The source concluded the statement by expressing Saudi Arabia’s keenness on Turkey’s security, stability and prosperity.

While Saudi Arabia and Turkey have backed rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iran has supported the Syrian regime.

Nevertheless, Turkey recently suggested that it does not have “many reasons” to continue fighting the Syrian dictator.

Sheikholeslam, the advisor to the Iranian parliament speaker, said Turkey’s policy change towards Syria would make it easier to eliminate what the Islamic Republic considers to be terrorists in the country, which tends to refer to the Syrian opposition.

According to Iran Front Page:

He [the advisor] drew a link between the policy change and the recent coup attempt in Turkey, and said, “The elimination of terrorists in Syria is a big strategic loss for the Zionist regime; therefore, I don’t see it unlikely that what happened in Turkey was the result of efforts made by Americans, Saudis, Egyptian intelligence, and Zionists.”

Turkey has joined its fellow Sunni country Saudi Arabia in sounding the alarm in what both country’s say is Shiite Iran’s expanding influence in the Middle East.

Moreover, Turkey has backed Saudi Arabia’s intervention against Iran-allied Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen.

In response to the attempted coup, Ahmed Abul-Gheit, chief of the Arab League, “warned that instability in Turkey would embolden Iran to interfere in the affairs of the region’s countries,” reports Turkey’s Daily Sabah.

Citing the Turkish government, Al Arabiya reports, “At least 294 people were killed and more than 1,400 wounded in the foiled coup.”

In addition to Saudi Arabia and Iran, multiple countries, including the United States and Israel, have voiced support for Erdogan’s government following the coup attempt.

While voicing support for Erdogan, Iran attempted to justify its intervention on behalf of Syrian dictator Assad.

“Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani said that Tehran supports President Erdogan’s government because it has been elected by the people, adding that Iran’s support for the Syrian government derives from the same fact,” reports FNA.

Egypt did not condemn the coup attempt and blocked a United Nations statement urging all parties to “respect the democratically elected government of Turkey.”

The Egyptian response is a testament to the strained relationship between Turkey and Egypt.


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