Coup attempt is milestone in Ankara-Tehran ties: Iranian spokesperson
Sevil Erkuş - TEHRANIran’s full support to the Turkish government on the night of the July 2016 coup attempt enabled the beginning of a détente in bilateral relations between Ankara and Tehran, which had been strained due to differences over the Syrian crisis, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qassemi has said.
“Although Turkey and Iran have a longstanding friendship and shared neighborhood, the two countries were seen as having different views over some regional issues,” Qassemi told a group of Turkish journalists invited by the Iranian Culture Ministry on Aug. 14.
“But Iran’s support for Turkey following the coup attempt brought a new season in bilateral relations,” he added.
“Iranian authorities were in contact with their Turkish counterparts until the morning of the July 15 coup attempt,” Qassemi said, adding that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif had six phone calls with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, on the night of the attempted takeover.
“We conveyed that Iran was ready to meet any demand from Turkey,” he said.
Russians ‘surprised’ at cooperation between Turkey, Iran
Saying that Turkey and Iran have been working to overcome differences regarding the Astana process seeking a solution for the Syrian crisis, Qassemi touched on the latest round of technical talks held in Tehran last week.
“We observed more cooperation between Turkish and Iranian delegations. Even the Russians were surprised at that,” he said.
“But despite this approach by Turkey and Iran, we have not been able to reach a solution yet,” Qassemi stated, referring to the issue of de-escalation zones, on which Ankara, Tehran, and Moscow have not yet reached a consensus.
The parties will seek to settle the outstanding disagreements at another technical meeting planned for the end of August, he added.
Referendum in northern Iraq ‘immature’
In addition, Qassemi described the planned referendum for the independence of Iraqi Kurds in September as “immature,” saying it has the potential to create further problems in the region.
“The referendum could affect you as well. You face the issue both in Turkey and Syria,” he said, in reference to the Turkish government’s opposition to Kurdish separatism.
Qassemi stressed that Iraq’s territorial integrity is vital for the security of the region, adding that Tehran rejects “all kinds of separatism” in Iraq, Syria or elsewhere.
“The region cannot tolerate more wars,” he said.
Iranian army chief meets political leaders in Turkey
Meanwhile, the head of Iran’s armed forces had discussions with the political leadership of Turkey on the second day of his visit to Ankara, which marked the first such visit since the revolution in Iran in 1979.
Iran Chief of General Staff Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri had talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli on Aug. 16.
Bagheri had met with his Turkish counterpart General Hulusi Akar on Aug. 15 and discussed “joint struggle with all terror organizations posing threat to the region, the necessity of cooperation for the security of borders and possible contribution to regional security and stability,” a written statement from the Turkish Armed forces stated.