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Erdogan: Turkey supports Saudi-led mission in Yemen

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey supports Saudi-led military operations against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

In an interview with French network FRANCE 24, on Thursday, Erdogan said that Ankara may consider providing "logistical support" to the mission.

"We support Saudi Arabia's intervention," Erdogan told FRANCE 24. "Turkey may consider providing logistical support based on the evolution of the situation," he added.

The Turkish president called on Houthis and terrorist groups such al-Qaeda to withdraw from Yemen.

Erdogan also accused Iran of working "to increase its influence in Iraq."

"Iran is trying to chase Daesh from the region only to take its place," he said.

Commenting on the US-led anti-Daesh coalition operations, Erdogan said: "I have already said that I find the coalition air strikes to be insufficient."

"A ground intervention will be necessary to overcome Daesh," he said.

Erdogan added that Daesh "has nothing to do with Islam and it is not a state."

"It is a terrorist group," he said.

A full interview is due to be broadcast later on Thursday evening.

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin has ruled out any change of Erdogan's plan to visit Iran in the first week of April amid the Saudi-led military offensive in Yemen.

Saying there would be no change to Erdogan's schedule, Kalin said: "On the contrary, these developments have raised the significance of [Erdogan's] Iran visit."

Several Arab states have joined the Saudi-led offensive, which kicked off late Wednesday with a string of airstrikes against Houthi positions in Yemen, including some in capital Sanaa.

Predominantly-Sunni Saudi Arabia said the strikes were in response to Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi's appeals for military intervention in Yemen with a view to "saving the people from the Houthi militias."

The UK, Egypt and France declared their support for Saudi Arabia's anti-Houthi military operations while Russia, Iran, Syria and Iraq, have labelled them as "aggression."

Fractious Yemen has been in turmoil since last September, when the Houthis overran capital Sanaa, from which they have sought to extend their influence to other parts of the country as well.

Some Gulf countries accuse Shiite Iran of supporting the Houthi insurgency.

Europe & RussiaMiddle EastNewsSaudi ArabiaTurkeyYemen
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