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Iranian-Turkish Military Cooperation to Respond to Kurdish Referendum | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (Reuters)

Ankara, London – Amid growing coordination between Ankara and Tehran to confront last week’s Kurdish independence referendum, Turkish Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar held talks on Monday with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran.

Rouhani said during the talks: “Iran and Turkey are the anchor of stability in the region when they stand by side and they play a role in resolving regional issues.”

The meeting between the two officials precedes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Iran on Wednesday where he is scheduled to meet Rouhani.

“Preserving geographic borders is among the most important goals of joint cooperation between Tehran and Ankara,” added the Iranian leader during his talks with Akar.

He said that political and economic Turkish-Iranian ties stand on “good levels”, underling the need to develop “defense and military ties.”

Without directly referring to the Kurdish vote, Rouhani stressed the need to maintain the unity of Iraqi and Syrian territories, preserving stability in the region and “refraining from changing geographic borders.”

“Any change in borders will lead to insecurity and instability in the region,” he warned.

For his part, Akar said during a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Baqeri: “Turkey and Iran are developing their military cooperation against current threats and dangers.”

“Turkey and Iran have been friendly states for hundreds of years and they share common values,” he continued.

He revealed that the two sides have reached an understanding on combating terrorism and ensuring border security.

Baqeri meanwhile said that he discussed with the Turkish official common threats that their two countries are facing.

He added that Turkey and Iran “have a joint position that opposes the illegitimate referendum” that was held in Iraqi Kurdistan.

“We have common views on the unity of Iraqi territory and the need to reject the vote,” he continued.

In addition, Baqeri and Akar discussed Iraqi and Syrian efforts to combat the ISIS terrorist group and ways to achieve peace and security in the two countries.

Furthermore, they addressed increasing cooperation between the Turkish and Iranian militaries, which could include joint drills and the exchange of expertise.

These issues will be discussed further during the upcoming talks between Rouhani and Erdogan.

Baqeri had paid a visit to Ankara in August, the first of its kind by an Iranian chief of staff since 1979.