The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader has urged the government to keep Turkey away from the “growing fire” in the Middle East after the United States killed top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, repeating his party’s objection to sending Turkish troops to Libya.
“Any sort of development will affect Turkey. Our expectation from [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan is to pursue policies with restrain in the Middle East and to keep Turkey away from the fire in the region,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told journalists at a meeting on Jan. 3.
Kılıçdaroğlu was replying to a question on the killing of Iranian commander of the Quds Forces by the U.S. in the early hours of Jan. 3 in Baghdad which led to a deep anger in Tehran, with vengeful threats.
The killing of Soleimani might launch a new era with a lot of big and fresh problems in the region, Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“We don’t know what the reaction of Iran would be, but they say they will take revenge. The Middle East needs a climate where rationality and wisdom should prevail, not weapons,” he said, citing other regional problems, from Syria to Yemen.
“The Middle East has become a battlefield of proxy wars in the last 10 years. This does not only affect Turkey but the entire region. All the region pays big prices. I wish that commonsense will prevail in both Iran and the U.S.,” he stressed.
In this context, Kılıçdaroğlu repeated his concerns about the government’s intention to deploy troops to Libya as it received approval from parliament on Jan. 2.
Instead of intervening in a civil war in Libya by sending troops, Turkey should activate diplomacy and press on the U.N. and the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council for the deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping force to Libya, Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“This would avoid hot conflict in Libya,” he said.