Top Iranian diplomat visits Turkey
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu met his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, on March 19 in Istanbul.
Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, also attended the meeting, sources from the Foreign Ministry said on condition of anonymity.
The bilateral relations between Turkey and Iran, including issues on Syria, the fight against terror and Afghanistan, were addressed during Zarif’s visit, according to sources.
Tensions between Turkey and Iran have brewed up recently, as Iranian-backed Shiite militias in Iraq have built up their presence in Iraq’s northern Sinjar region and issued statements threatening Ankara over carrying out counterterrorism operations in northern Iraq.
A recent deal between Baghdad and Arbil for the security of the Sinjar province and intensified dialogue between Turkey and Iraq aim to curb the PKK’s influence in a wider region in northern Iraq and eastern Syria.
Meanwhile, Turkey, Russia and Qatar issued a joint statement last week following talks between their foreign ministers in Doha, vowing to defend Syria’s territorial integrity in accordance with the U.N. Charter.
Iran welcomes “any initiative that eases the pain of Syrian people and achieves stability and peace in this country [Syria],” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said, stressing that the Astana talks between Ankara, Moscow and Tehran were one of the most successful initiatives to put an end to the Syrian crisis.
On the issue of Afghanistan, Turkey announced that it will host high-level talks on the Afghan peace process in April.
Turkey’s military operation against the PKK in February led to a spat between Ankara and Tehran.
The incident prompted Iran’s envoy to Baghdad, Iraj Masjedi, to warn that Turkish forces should not “pose a threat or violate Iraqi soil,” where Iran’s influence is strong. The incident prompted Turkey and Iran to each summon one another’s ambassador.