MNA – Lecturer at Marmara University Institute for Middle East Studies Dr. Bilgehan Alagoz, pointing to the General Bagheri’s visit to Turkey emphasized on the necessity of cooperation between Tehran and Ankara to tackle common threats.
General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, Iran’s chief of armed forces kicked off his three-day official visit to Turkey on Tuesday. He is going to have unprecedented talks with Turkey’s high ranking officials including president Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly aimed at narrowing differences on the Syria crisis and coordinating policy on Iraq.
He kicked off the visit by meeting his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar in Ankara today. General Bagheri is also due to meet Turkish defense minister Nurettin Canikli
Due to the importance of Tehran and Ankara cooperation to tackle common threats, Payman Yazdani from international desk of Mehr News agency sat with Dr.Bilgehan Alagoz, lecturer at Marmara University Institute for Middle East Studies.
Commenting on the importance of General Bagheri’s visit to Turkey, Bilgehan said,”Turkey and Iran have always cooperated when they perceived a common threat to their national securities. It is certain that for the time being, there are many critical issues in our region, which affect Turkey and Iran directly. These issues are mostly relevant to security concerns of the two countries. In this context, visit of the Iranian armed forces chief to Turkey is noteworthy. I believe that security authorities of the two countries are aware of the importance of the intelligence sharing and creation of common policies against mutual threats. Therefore, I am hopeful about the outcomes of the Iranian armed forces chief visit to Turkey.”
On border cooperation between Iran and Turkey considered as one the issues being discussed between two sides and the construction of border wall between two countries by Turkey, she said, “Turkey and Iran are both struggling against PKK/PJAK terrorist activities for decades. History has proved us that border security is critical when it comes to pursuing war on terror. This is why Turkey wants to build a wall on its borders. Iranian officials have declared that they have no problem about Turkey’s construction on the border. There are mutual benefits. Once border security is provided, it would certainly have a positive impact on trade relations between the two countries. During the past years, PKK/PJAK not only attacked military bodies but also targeted transportation and border trade. For this reason, the wall, which is under construction on the Turkish-Iranian border, would not be a problem for Iran.”
Pointing to similar position of Iran and Turkey on Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence referendum which will also said be discussed during General Bagheri’s visit to Ankara and possible joint efforts of Iran and Turkey in this regard, Belgahan asserted, “Turkey has declared that a separate Kurdish state in northern Iraq is a red line for its national security. Turkey pays great attention on the territorial integrity of Iraq. In the early years of 2003 Iraqi War, Turkey and Iran created a platform for Iraq’s neighboring foreign ministers in order to discuss their security concerns due to the lack of stability in Iraq. Today both countries are in the same position regarding Iraq’s future. It is certain that there is no life to an independent Kurdish state in our geography if Turkey and Iran remain resistant.”
Touching upon the impact of General Bagheri’s visit to Turkey on developments in Syria, she added, “Turkey and Iran have had a great division regarding their policies toward Syria. However, it became certain that instability in Syria creates direct threat both for Turkey and Iran. Thus, the two countries started a new diplomatic approach, which focuses to eliminate security gaps regarding Syria. Turkey struggles against ISIL and PKK/YPG/PYD simultaneously and is determined to protect its borders from these terrorist organizations. For Turkey and independent Kurdish state in northern Syria has no difference from an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq in terms of national security concerns. Therefore, Turkey wants Iran to adopt the same position. If Iran declares that it will pursue the similar policy towards PYD/YPG, Turkey would not hesitate to cooperate with Iran on Syrian issue. In this vein, it is certain that the visit of Iranian armed forces chief will have positive outcomes for further cooperation.”
Interview by Payman Yazdani