Turkey’s president, top soldier to pay separate visits to Iran
ANKARATurkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar will pay separate visits to Iran in the coming days amid rising tension over the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) bid to hold an independence referendum on Sept. 25 and continued efforts to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria.
President Erdoğan and Iranian President Hasan Ruhani will preside over the Fifth Turkey-Iran High Level Strategic Council meeting that will be held in Tehran on Oct. 4.
“We will focus on Turkish-Iranian relationships and regional developments. The most sensitive one is [the developments] in Iraq and Syria. The fight against terror is also important,” Erdoğan said in a televised interview over the weekend.
Erdoğan and Ruhani recently met in person in Astana on the margins of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in early September. “The relationship between Turkey and Iran has revived. I am hopeful for the results,” Erdoğan stressed.
The Tehran meeting will concentrate on boosting bilateral cooperation in various fields like transportation, energy and trade as well as political and cultural issues. The two countries have also been discussing ways to fight against terror.
Erdoğan announced that Turkey’s Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar will also pay a visit to Iran prior to his scheduled trip on Oct. 4.
“This will be a return visit. As you know, the Iranian Chief of General Staff [Major General Mohammad] Bakiri had paid a visit to Turkey. Our chief of general staff will go to Iran before my visit to hold preliminary talks,” Erdoğan said.
On Aug. 16, Iran’s top soldier paid a visit to Ankara and became the first Iranian top soldier visiting the Turkish capital. The two chiefs of general staff discussed ways to fight terrorism as well as border security.
Turkey had announced that it had decided to erect a wall on the Iranian border to stop the infiltration of terrorists and smugglers.