The Iran Project

Erdoğan: A fickle friend of Iran slurs the Supreme Leader

“We consider Iran to be our second home.”
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan[1]

On Monday 13 October 2014, in a speech at Istanbul’s Marmara University, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made critical innuendos against the Islamic Republic of Iran and its Leader, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei for supporting the sovereign government of the Arab Republic of Syria and its president, His Excellency Bashar al-Assad.[2]  Thousands took to the streets of Istanbul in protest following the Turkish president’s derogatory remarks.[3]

This recent rant by Erdoğan is a far cry from the words of cooperation and consolation he expressed in his face-to-face meeting with Ayatollah Khamenei in January 2014 in Tehran.   After stressing the unique spirit of brotherhood between Iran and Turkey, the Supreme Leader advised the then Turkish prime minister of the necessity for Tehran and Ankara to adopt a serious outlook toward agreements made between the two countries.  Responding to the Supreme Leader’s counsel, Erdoğan assured him, “We hope that the increasing relations between the two countries will be a model for the region and for the entire world.”

But instead of increasing cooperation and strengthening relations, Erdoğan seems bent on fomenting interstate strife, not only between Turkey and Iran, but also among other regional Islamic countries.  Recently, Turkish foreign ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç denounced statements by Iranian officials critical of Ankara’s stance on Syria and charged that instead they should remain silent and feel “shame” for the humanitarian tragedy in the region due to Iranian support for Syria, which, according to Bilgiç, has caused the “terror problem” in the region.[4]

Reports in Turkish daily newspapers went so far as to allege that Iran’s Ambassador to Ankara, Alireza Bigdeli, had been summoned by the Turkish foreign ministry over the issue.  However, these reports seem to have been fabrications to foment conflict, since Ambassador Bigdeli rejected these allegations and called them no more than “a lie,” adding that regrettably, even some Iranian media had passed on the same report without confirming its veracity.[5]

Turkey under Erdoğan’s rule has often done the opposite of what it affirmed back in 2008 upon winning the temporary Security Council seat for the 2009 to 2010 term.  At that time, Turkey stated that it would “contribute to the peaceful resolution of conflicts, continue to play a facilitating role in regional issues, strive to achieve the targets for development and endeavour to sustain the dialogue between civilizations and cultures, in cooperation with all countries.”[6]

This is while protestors worldwide have condemned Ankara’s inaction, allowing ISIL takfiris to slaughter innocent Kurds in the Syrian city of Kobani.  Even worse, the day before Erdoğan’s insulting remarks at Marmara University, Turkish authorities closed the border against Kurdish refugees fleeing from takfiri militants,[7]  and then the day after, Turkish F-16 and F-4 jets bombed Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) positions in southeastern Turkey for the first time since the Kurdish group had declared a ceasefire with Ankara back in March 2013.[8]  Erdoğan’s message is clear, since PKK fighters have been engaged with Iraqi forces against ISIL militants in Iraq.[9]

Worse than that, Serena Shim, the courageous correspondent for the Iranian news channel Press TV who was killed on 19 October 2014 under suspicious circumstances, had reported on the overt support by Turkish authorities of takfiri militants entering Syria.  Shim, who had gained access to images showing militants crossing the border in trucks belonging to the World Food Organization and other NGOs, reported that she had been accused of spying by Turkish intelligence prior to her unfortunate untimely death.[10]  In a recent address before the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Erdoğan had warned, “Taking advantage of the media … to threaten national security is not something that can ever be taken lightly.”[11]

Now, apparently reversing his position on the defense of Kobani, Erdoğan has agreed to allow Kurdish Peshmerga forces to pass through Turkey on their way to help the besieged citizens of Kobani.  The announcement of the policy switch was made by Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu following multiple U.S. air drops of arms and medical supplies,[12] which appear to have been intended instead for the ISIL takfiris that Washington and its “coalition partners” including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have been backing covertly all along.[13]

Confirming ISIL is a U.S. asset, Iranian MP Ismail Kowsari, a member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, stated that the U.S. formed the anti-terror coalition only to cover up its crimes since “the ISIL is the crony of the U.S., U.K. and Saudi Arabia.”[14]  U.S. funding of terrorists has a long history, as Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran wrote, “In the 1980s, the United States cooperated with the Saudi and Pakistani governments to promote, train and arm the mujahedeen ‘freedom fighters’ to fight the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan.”[15]

No wonder Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei does not trust the U.S. and has dismissed its anti-ISIL coalition as “absurd, hollow and biased”[16] when Washington has supported, and apparently continues to support, the terrorist organization that it now claims to be fighting.  Recently released from a hospital stay and now in excellent health,[17] Ayatollah Khamenei commented that the U.S. announcement about fighting ISIL “was really a source of amusement when I was in hospital.”[18]

Likewise, Erdoğan has supported terrorists in Syria in his quest to overthrow Bashar al-Assad and resurrect an Ottoman state.  The Saudi businessman Yassin al-Qadi, who reportedly is a fundraiser for al-Qaeda and is on the U.S. Treasury Department’s “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” list, was in Turkey four times in 2012 and was personally escorted by Erdoğan’s protective detail.[19]  Now, we are supposed to believe that Erdoğan has signed on as the only “Muslim nation” in the U.S. anti-ISIL coalition.[20]  Incidentally, al-Qadi is reputed to be a personal friend of former U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney as well.[21]

Erdoğan’s fickle behavior, bordering on the schizophrenic, seems to go beyond regional bounds.  On October 16, Turkey failed to regain the prestigious temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council, which it had won with an impressive majority of votes in 2008, for the 2009 to 2010 term.  In contrast to the 151 out of 193 votes Turkey received in the 2008 voting, this time only 60 countries voted in favor of Ankara in the third round of voting for the 2015 to 2016 term in the Security Council.  One cannot help but wonder if those 60 nations are the same ones in Obama’s anti-ISIL coalition. [22]

That Turkey would choose to go after the Security Council seat so soon after its previous term demonstrates Erdoğan’s political schizophrenia.  Concerning this phenomenon, retired ambassador Volkan Vural, who was Turkey’s permanent representative to the UN from 1998 to 2000, remarked, “Applying for Security Council membership so soon after having held it before was hardly a clever move. … This overconfidence by the government has no logical explanation.”[23]

There is overconfidence, and then there is stupidity.  And when Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) turned against their political patron, the Pennsylvania-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, leader of the Islamist Hizmet movement, he crossed over the line, losing much worldwide support.  Former ambassador Vural stated, “The government worked through this group in the past to canvass support for Turkey.”[24]  However, Erdoğan went after Gülen and Hizmet when an investigation of corruption incriminated the Turkish president himself.  Now Erdoğan wants to list his one-time benefactor’s Hizmet movement as a terrorist organization.[25]

Not mincing words over Erdoğan’s bizarre, irrational actions, Turkish journalist and political critic Kadri Gürsel, wrote, “Erdogan’s attitude, which produces instability with ever-expanding dimensions, can only be explained by a hubris syndrome that has overwhelmed common sense.”[26]  This explains how Erdoğan can support a foreign-backed militancy in neighboring Syria and still claim, “The safety and peace of our neighboring countries and our brothers and friends across the world are among the pillars of our foreign policy.”[27]  So what we are seeing here with these fanatic self-contradictory tirades by Erdoğan are pathetic attempts to revive Turkey’s declining regional and international influence.

Meanwhile, Ayatollah Khamenei, at the spiritual helm of the worldwide Islamic awakening, has guided the Islamic Republic of Iran to ever loftier levels of regional and international influence.  Indeed, if Brother Recep Tayyip Erdoğan truly believes that Iran is his second home, he might at least be respectful to the master of the house.  May Allah bless Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Republic of Iran.



[1] “Supreme Leader Meets with Turkish Prime Minister,”  Office of the Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali Khamenei, January 29, 2014, accessed October 21, 2014,

[2] “Erdoğan slams ‘modern Lawrences’,” The Turkafile, October 14, 2014, accessed October 21, 2014,

[3] “Protest against Erdogan in Istanbul for derogatory remarks against Iran Supreme Leader,” Shia International News Association, October 21, 2014, accessed October 22, 2014,

[4] “Iran should feel ‘shame’ for causing ‘terror in region’: Turkey,” People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, October 19, 2014, accessed October 20, 2014,

[5] “Iranian Ambassador Rejects Being Summoned to Turkish Foreign Ministry,” Fars News Agency, October 18, 2014, accessed October 21, 2014,

[6] “No:184 – 17 October 2008, Press Release Regarding the UN Security Council Elections for the Term 2009-2010 (Unofficial Translation),” Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Turkey, October 17, 2008, accessed October 21, 2014,—17-october-2008_-press-release-regarding-the-un-security-council-elections-for-the-term-2009-2010.en.mfa.

[7] “Iranian Ambassador Rejects Being Summoned to Turkish Foreign Ministry,” ibid.

[8] “Turkey bombs Kurdish PKK rebel positions, Kobani inaction threatens ceasefire,” Russia Today, October 14, 2014, accessed October 21, 2014,

[9] Bill Van Auken, “Obama Meets Anti-ISIS “Coalition” Amid Rising US-Turkish Tensions,” Global Research, October 15, 2014, accessed October 22, 2014,

[10] “Iranian TV reporter killed in Turkey car crash 1 day after ‘spying accusations’,” Russia Today, October 20, 2014, accessed October 21, 2014,

[11] Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, “Opening Remarks On The Occasion Of The 24th Term Of The 5th Legislative Year Of The Turkish Grand National Assembly,” Presidency of the Republic of Turkey, October 1, 2014, accessed October 21, 2014,

[12] “Turkey Helping Kurdish Fighters Cross Into Kobani,” Facts on Turkey, October 20, 2014, accessed October 21, 2014,

[13] “New video shows US airdropped weapons in hands of ISIL terrorists,” Press TV, October 21, 2014, accessed October 21, 2014,

[14] “US formed anti-ISIL coalition to fool world: Iran MP,” Sada-e-Hussaini Daily, September 19 2014, accessed October 21, 2014,

[15] Seyed Mohammad Marandi, “Making Iran the Ultimate Enemy,” Consortium News, October 8, 2014, accessed October 21, 2014,

[16] “Iran Questions Legitimacy of US-Led Anti-ISIL Coalition,” Alalam, September 17, 2014, accessed October 21, 2014,

[17] Seyed Mohammad Marandi, ibid.

[18] “Leader: Anti-ISIL coalition seeking ‘hidden motives’,” Mehr News Agency, September 15, 2014, accessed October 21, 2014,

[19] “Yasin al-Qadi escorted by PM’s security detail, daily reports,” Today’s Zaman, December 31, 2013, accessed October 22, 2014,

[20] “Turkey to Play Role in Fight Against Islamic State,” New York Times, September 8, 2014, accessed October 22, 2014,

[21] “ISIL, Turkey: The Dream of Restoring the Glories of Sublime Ottoman State,” Al Manar, September 15, 2014, last updated September 16, 2014,

[22] Obama specifically refers to 60 nations contributing to the anti-ISIL effort.  See “Remarks by the President After Meeting with Chiefs of Defense,” The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, October 14, 2014, accessed October 21, 2014,

[23] Semih Idiz, “UN vote confirms Turkey’s waning influence,” Gagrule, October 19, 2014, accessed October 21, 2014,

[24] Semih Idiz, ibid.

[25] “Erdoğan steps up hateful speech against Gülen,” Today’s Zaman, October 13, 2014, accessed October 21, 2014,

[26] Kadri Gürsel, “Erdogan’s Hubris Syndrome,” Facts on Turkey, October 20, 2014, accessed October 21, 2014,

[27] Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, “Message on Eid Al-Adha,” Presidency of the Republic of Turkey, October 4, 2014, accessed October 21, 2014,

This article was written by Yuram Abdullah Weiler for on OCT. 26, 2014. Yuram Abdullah Weiler is a freelance writer and political critic who writes on Islam, social justice, politics and the Middle East.


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