Turkish commander reviews Kurdish referendum with senior Iranian officials

October 3, The Iran Project – Visiting Chief of the General Staff of Turkey Hulusi Akar arrived in Tehran Sunday evening (Oct 1) for an official visit during which he held consultations with top Iranian officials on issue of Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s referendum on independence prior to the upcoming visit of  Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to Tehran.

While in Iran, Akar held talks with several top Iranian officials including Iran’s SNSC Secretary Ali Shamkhani and President Hassan Rouhani, and also took part in a joint press conference attended by his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Baqeri.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has held a non-binding referendum on secession from Iraq in defiance of Baghdad’s stiff opposition on September 25 and amid the opposition of the international bodies, the world and regional countries.

In a meeting with Akar, Shamkhani said the recent secession plebiscite held in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region will help boost Takfiri terrorism across region while jeopardizing the interests of both the Iraqi and Kurdish people.

“Holding the referendum in Iraq’s Kurdistan will help the Western-Zionist-Arab front supporting Takfiri terrorism achieve its objectives and is definitely in contradiction to the interests of the Iraqi people, particularly the Kurds,” Shamkhani said.

The Turkish chief of general staff, for his part, said his country strongly supported the central government in Iraq and the country’s territorial integrity.

In a meeting with top Turkish commander, President Rouhani underlined the need for making efforts in line with reinforcing the central governments in Iraq and Syria for the sake of territorial integrity, fighting terrorism and restoring stability to the region and not making changes to the geographical borders, and said, “Any lack of stability along the geographical borders will result in spread of insecurity and instability in the region”

Meanwhile, in a joint press conference attended by Baqeri and Akar, Iranian commander described the referendum in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region as a common threat for both countries, saying Iran and Turkey has the same stance as regard to the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq.

The two Generals stressed that both Iran and Turkey do not recognize the September 25 referendum in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

Iran has repeatedly said a recent controversial secession referendum in the northern Iraq runs counter to the Arab country’s constitution, calling on Kurdish authorities to negotiate with Baghdad regardless of the outcome of the vote.

Erdogan will discuss with Tehran their joint response to the Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum when he visits Iran next week with the Turkish chief of staff, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said.