On Saudi attacks, Erdogan: We have to look at how the Yemen conflict started

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Erdogan attends a news conference in Ankara.

:: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday linked Saturday’s attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities with the war in Yemen.

When asked about the impact of the recent attacks on Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and Hijrat Khurais, Erdogan responded by saying: “We have to look at how the conflict in Yemen started. This country was completely destroyed – who caused it?”

The war in Yemen began in 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi militia overthrew the internationally recognized Yemeni government. The Arab Coalition was subsequently assembled and intervened to combat the Houthis.

Erdogan had previously voiced support for the Arab Coalition’s role in Yemen. In March 2015, Erdogan said “we support Saudi Arabia’s intervention,” adding that “Turkey may consider providing logistical support based on the evolution of the situation,” in an interview with news channel France 24.

Erdogan’s recent comments came during a press conference in Ankara, after a trilateral meeting on Syria with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.

Although the Iran-backed Houthi militia has claimed it launched the attack from Yemen, US officials pointed to satellite imagery that they said showed the attacks were launched from a west-northwest direction.

Multiple reports quoted US intelligence sources as saying that the attack originated from Iran. US President Donald Trump previously said on Monday that it was “looking like” Iran was responsible for the attack.

The Arab Coalition spokesperson Turki al-Malki said that the initial investigations indicated that the weapons used in the attacks on two Saudi Aramco oil facilities are Iranian.

Erdogan has also previously criticized Tehran’s role in the region, stating in 2015 that “Iran is trying to dominate the region.”

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