‘Tehran, Ankara agree on sharing intel, operational cooperation on fight against terror’

Hurriyet Daily– Ankara and Tehran have agreed on sharing intelligence and cooperating operationally in the fight against terror, Iran’s Chief of General Staff Maj. Gen. Mohamed Baqeri has said. 

Baqeri, who made a rare visit to Turkey to hold talks with his Turkish counterpart, Gen. Hulusi Akar, as well as other top state officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said the countries reached agreements on military cooperation and border security.

“We agreed on joint training and student exchange. The navies of the two countries will visit each other. The countries will provide observers in military drills,” Baqeri told Iranian media on Aug. 17, adding that the talks with Turkish officials went “very successfully.”

“The foundations of many issues in the areas of military, defense and security were laid as part of the Turkey visit and this process will continue,” he said.

Saying that he visited Ankara with the approval of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Baqeri noted that he invited Akar to Iran in order for the cooperation between the countries to continue.

Baqeri added that Erdoğan will also visit Iran soon.

Touching on the much-debated independence referendum to be held by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq on Sept. 25, Baqeri said the issue was a pressing topic on the agenda between Turkish and Iranian officials.

“If such a thing [referendum] takes place, it would be the beginning of new tensions and would affect neighboring countries negatively. That’s why the two countries are insisting on the referendum to not be possible and that it shouldn’t be realized,” he said.

Baqeri is accompanied by Commander of the Ground Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour, head of Iran’s border guard command Gen. Qasem Rezaei, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Rahimpour, as well as several other military commanders during his visit.