Erdogan: Turkey, Iran Closer to ‘Joint Action’ Against Kurdish Groups
REUTERS/ Yasin Bulbul/Presidential PalaceMiddle East22:07 21.08.2017(updated 03:54 22.08.2017) Get short URL81986252
It was revealed Monday that Turkey and Iran are considering joining forces against Kurdish groups the governments of both countries oppose. They’ve also agreed that Syrian government authority must be restored in areas of that country with mostly Kurdish populations.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with the commander of the Iranian forces in Ankara last week, and before embarking on a trip to Jordan Monday said there must be a more effective effort against the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK).
“Joint action against terrorist groups that have become a threat is always on the agenda,” he said, according to Reuters. “This issue has been discussed between the two military chiefs, and I discussed more broadly how this should be carried out.”
The PKK, which is outlawed in Turkey, has ties to the Kurdistan Free Life Party in Iran. Erdogan said he believes Ankara can defeat Kurdish separatist forces with Tehran’s assistance.
The People’s Defence Force (HPG), the armed wing of the PKK, has resumed its guerilla campaign against Ankara, an effort that has gone on for over 30 years. The Kurdistan Free Life Party has occasionally clashed with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as well.
Both groups have bases in Iraq.
Maj. Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, also said Monday that Tehran and Ankara agreed that the authority of Syria’s government needs to be restored in northern territories with dense Kurdish populations.
A referendum on independence for Iraq’s Kurds is scheduled for next month, a move opposed by both Turkey and Iran.