Iran protests to Turkey over ‘meddling’ poem recited by Erdogan

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has summoned Turkey’s ambassador over what it said was “meddlesome” remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a visit to Azerbaijan on Thursday.

Erdogan was in the Azeri capital Baku to review a military parade marking Azerbaijan’s victory over Armenia in a war over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave that ended last month.

The Turkish president recited an Azeri-Iranian poem about the division of Azerbaijan’s territory between Russia and Iran in the 19th century. Tehran appeared concerned his remarks could fan separatism among Iran’s Azeri minority.

“The Turkish ambassador was informed that the era of territorial claims and expansionist empires is over,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on its website on Friday.

“Iran does not allow anyone to meddle in its territorial integrity.”

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted earlier: “President Erdogan was not informed that what he ill-recited in Baku refers to the forcible separation of areas … from [the] Iranian motherland.”

“NO ONE can talk about OUR beloved Azerbaijan,” Zarif said, referring to the northwest region of Iran where many of its ethnic Azeris live.

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