A senior advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has reiterated Iran’s vehement opposition to any use of force to topple democratically-elected governments, particularly the recent abortive coup attempt in Turkey.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is a state governed by religious democracy, i.e. a government based on popular vote within the framework of Islamic values and is naturally against any illegal move and act of bullying to change popular governments,” the Leader’s aide on international affairs, Ali Akbar Velayati, said in an interview with the Iranian Tasnim news agency on Saturday.
He added that governments have for years assumed office through popular vote and democratic channels in Turkey.
“If a few military personnel seek to crush underfoot the vote of the people under the influence of whatever factor or factors and overthrow the popular government of Erdogan, the Islamic Republic of Iran will naturally and according to the principles it believes in oppose this coup d’état or any other coups,” he pointed out.
The coup attempt, launched late on Friday, plunged Turkey into hours of chaos unseen in decades during which soldiers and tanks took to the streets and multiple explosions rang out throughout the night in Ankara and Istanbul.
It all began when a faction of the Turkish military declared that it had fully seized control of the country and that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim were no more in charge.
A group calling itself the “Council for Peace in the Homeland” declared martial law and a curfew in the statement.
Erdogan and Yildirim appeared on television soon after the coup was launched, declaring an early end to the putsch.
The Turkish premier told reporters that 161 people were killed in the coup attempt against the government. He said 2,839 soldiers were now detained on suspicion of involvement in the putsch and added that the toll did not include the assailants.
Velayati added that the Turkish people are still supportive of their government and were the main reason behind the failure of the coup attempt.
“We hope that a day would come when the Turkish administration would also respect the opinion and vote of the Syrian people and leave it to the Syrian people to determine their government,” he said, adding that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has also been elected through the ballot box “and if the people had not supported him, he could not have withstood an international war for more than five years.”
Turkey has been among the main supporters of the militant groups operating in Syria, with reports saying that Ankara actively trains and arms the Takfiri terrorists there and facilitates their safe passage into the violence-wracked Arab country.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-sponsored militancy since March 2011.
UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict. The UN has stopped its official casualty count in the Middle Eastern state, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.
Velayati said although there are “differences of opinion” between Tehran and Ankara on some issues, including on Syria, Turkey remains Iran’s “brother and neighbor” state.
“Regardless of some political differences, many commonalities bring Iran and Turkey together. These two countries with a common history, religion and border have existed side by side for centuries,” the senior Iranian official said.
He further warned that violent measures like coups hold countries back and said the fact that Erdogan, according to his own claims, seeks to revive Islamic values brings him closer to Iran.