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Erdogan’s visit to Tehran defines Turkey’s future roadmap

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Turkish president Erdogan will visit Tehran on Wednesday, October 4 to hold bilateral meetings and attend a joint strategic council session. The meeting comes on the heels of Iranian FM visit to Doha, signaling ever closer cooperation and coordination between the three states, and ahead of Saudi king’s visit to Moscow.

“My trip to Iran is taking place in line with the joint strategic council meeting,” said Erdogan at a press conference on axes of his negotiations in Tehran. He later noted that the referendum on Iraqi Kurdistan will be on top of his agenda for consultation with President Rouhani and the Iranian Supreme Leader.

Following his visit, Erdogan further said, a roadmap will be outlined for further steps in Turkey. In recent weeks, Turkey’s keeps in constant contact with the regional countries, especially with regard to the Iraqi Kurdish referendum.

Meanwhile, on Monday Turkish military chief of staff Gen. Hulusi Akar held talks with his Iranian counterpart Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri in Tehran.

Discussions between the two top commanders tackled a host of issues, including border security and counter-terrorism along with regional issues.

At a joint press conference following the meeting, Akar said both Turkey and Iran shared common values, as reported by Turkish media.

“In addition to our political and economic relations, we improve our military relations,” he said. “We have reached a consensus on the fight against terrorism and border security.”

“Both countries have developed a common attitude towards the illegitimate Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) referendum,” he said.

While the military chiefs were meeting to discuss future roadmap, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Ground Force held a joint exercise with Iraqi Army SOF along Iran-Iraq’s Kurdistan border. A day following the Kurdish referendum Iraqi soldiers joined Turkish troops for joint military exercises on the Turkish territory near shared border, as two countries seek to coordinate responses to the referendum, which both consider unconstitutional.

The Iranian commander said his talks with his Turkish counterpart also focused on the fight against the Daesh terrorist group and the conflict in Syria.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after meeting with Turkey’s Akar on Monday, referring to growing level of cooperation between Iran and Turkey, said “Today political, economic, and international relations between Iran and Turkey are at a good status but we have to endeavor to boost military and defense cooperation in consistency with other areas”.

Iranian President emphasized fighting terrorism and preserving the geopolitical borders of the region as the two top priorities in developing bilateral ties. “Iran and Turkey, as two significant countries of the region who act like anchors of stability, will yield in better results and contribute to resolution of more regional conflicts if they stand along each other and move toward the same cause”.

The affirmation coming from Iranian president shows that the Turko-Persian alliance is growing in strength, as both leaders understand that recent regional events directly threaten security and stability of their countries. The fact that both Turkey and Iran are the guarantors of Syrian ceasefire in the de-escalation zones agreed with Russia in Astana Talks makes them particularly exposed to the attacks by parties opposed to bringing peace to Syria under current government.

Turkey’s President’s change of Syrian policy has put him into opposing camp with his previous allies, the US and the Saudis. His backing of Qatar in the Gulf diplomatic crisis and the birth of alliance with Iran and Iraq following Kurdish referendum leaves Erdogan no more space for maneuver and more such policy U-turns back to the Western camp. This has become particularly evident following EU leaders’ recent statements that Turkey could not and should not become a member of the EU.

Despite courtesies exchanged with the US president Trump on the UN General Assembly sidelines, where Trump called Erdogan ‘dear friend’ current trajectory of relations do not bode well for Erdogan―and he knows it. Hence the development of the roadmap with Tehran, the purchase of the Russian air-defense systems, and the meeting with the Russian president in Ankara last Thursday, where the two leaders agreed on the fourth safe zone in Syrian Idlib province.

New military alliance is being forged between the key regional powers before our eyes – Russia, Iran and Turkey. Diplomatic efforts to dispel Saudi displeasure with the alliance will take place from 4-7 October in Moscow during Saudi monarch’s first visit to Russia.

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