President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said Turkey was worried by the “arm wrestling” of world powers over Syria, as tensions soared between Washington and Moscow after threats of possible US air strikes.
“We are extremely worried that some countries confident of their military power are turning Syria into a scene for arm wrestling,” Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara after Washington and Moscow traded accusations.
His comments came after US President Donald Trump warned Moscow on Wednesday that US missiles “will be coming” to Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria which reportedly killed dozens.
Erdogan said he would talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin about “how we stop this chemical massacre” after the suspected attack.
A Turkish presidential source later confirmed the call had taken place but said only that the two men “exchanged views on the latest developments in Syria” and agreed to maintain contact.
Ankara appears keen to keep its distance from one of the worst outbreaks of tensions since the Cold War between its NATO ally Washington and increasingly close partner Moscow.
Erdogan’s comments echoed those of his Prime Minister Binali Yildirim who called on Russia and the United States on Wednesday to stop “street fighting” on Syria.