ID : N-109 Date : 2017/08/16 - 09:48
(Persia digest)- The military chiefs of Iran and Turkey have discussed ways to improve the two countries’ security, particularly in border areas, and continue the fight against terrorism.
Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri held talks with his Turkish counterpart, General Hulusi Akar, in Ankara on Tuesday, IRNA reported.
“As one of the important neighbors of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Turkey enjoys a prominent status in the region and the Muslim world,” Baqeri said.
He added that the two countries’ military officials had not exchanged such visits for a long time, but he decided to make the trip to Ankara in view of the current developments in the region, issues pertaining to bilateral security, and the need to continue the fight against terrorism.
Baqeri arrived in Ankara on Tuesday for a three-day visit at the head of a high-ranking politico-military delegation. He said his trip was aimed at discussing enhanced cooperation on military and regional issues.
IRNA described the visit as “unprecedented” and Turkey's Daily Sabah as a "milestone" as the two regional rivals seek to reconcile differences over Syria and Iraq and Kurdish separatism.
The top Iranian commander plans to hold talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli and other senior officials during his visit.
It is a first visit by an Iranian chief of staff of the Armed Forces to Turkey.
The visit comes ahead of a sixth round of talks between Turkey, Iran and Russia to establish so-called de-escalation zones in Syria. That meeting is planned to be held by the end of August in the Kazakh capital, Astana. It also comes a week before US Secretary of Defense James Mattis is slated to travel to Ankara, part of a regional tour.
Pro-government news outlets in Turkey have cast his visit in a determinedly upbeat light. The English-language Daily Sabah claimed, “The two sides are more willing than ever to reach deals in Syria and Iraq.” Quoting senior diplomatic sources in Ankara, the newspaper predicted that “firm steps are set to be taken.”
Iran is fighting both Kurdistan Workers' Party militants and a PKK offshoot known as PJAK in its northwestern border region with Turkey.
PJAK terrorists randomly carry out hit-and-run attacks on Iranian targets, after which they retreat to their lairs in Iraq and Turkey.