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Turkey says deeply saddened by Iranian president’s death

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Turkey on Monday said it was “deeply saddened” by the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash, Agence France-Presse reported.

Turkey “shares the pain of the friendly and brotherly Iranian people,” Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said.

“I pray for God’s mercy for my dear colleague and brother,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on X, expressing his “sincere condolences to the friendly and fraternal people and government in particular to the religious head of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ali Khamenei.”

The state-run Anadolu news agency on Monday said a Turkish-made Akıncı drone helped localize the debris of the helicopter in a fog-shrouded mountain region of western Iran.

Raisi died in a helicopter crash at age 63 in mountainous terrain near the Azerbaijan border, the Iranian government confirmed on Monday. Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was also among those killed, along with seven others.

The hardline Iranian leader paid his first official visit to Turkey in January since his 2021 election for talks originally aimed at ironing out a raft of problems between the historically close but uneasy neighbors.

His trip was delayed twice by the rapid escalation of the war in Gaza and a brutal bomb attack in Iran claimed by Islamic State group militants that killed 89 people earlier in January.

Erdoğan and Raisi agreed on the need to prevent the Israel-Hamas war from engulfing the entire Middle East region during the visit.

But Raisi countered that it was important for all countries to cut off trade with Israel — an apparent reference to Turkey’s steadfast refusal to do so that underscored tensions in Ankara’s ties with Tehran.

Earlier this month the Turkish Trade Ministry eventually announced suspension of all trade with Israel amid public outrage until it allows aid to enter Gaza unhindered during its offensive against Hamas militants in the territory.

 

 

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