Iran and Turkey on Monday reiterated their alliance against the recent Iraqi Kurdish disputed vote for independence and vowed to increase military cooperation.
In a meeting here on the day, Iran and Turkey’s top military officials dismissed the results of the Kurds’ referendum and rejected it as “unacceptable,” Tehran Times daily reported.
The visiting Chief of the General Staff of Turkey Hulusi Akar and Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri called for the boost of ties and the reinforcement of security cooperation.
Military cooperation between Iran and Turkey will increase, and the two neighbours will hold joint war games and exchange experiences, Baqeri and Akar said in a joint press conference.
In the meantime, Iran’s foreign minister on Monday criticized Kurds secession efforts and called for talks between the Iraqi government and the Kurdish authorities to settle their disputes politically, Press TV reported.
“The referendum in Kurdistan was against the Iraqi constitution, which does not help the people of Kurdistan, and is not justifiable for Iraq’s security,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said.
The results of Kurdish independence vote showed that the referendum would have “a lot of risks for the security of Iraq and the region,” he was quoted as saying.
Tensions have been running high between Iraqi government and the Kurdish region after the region held a controversial referendum on independence of Kurdistan and disputed areas, including Kirkuk.
The independence referendum was opposed by many countries because it would threaten the integrity of Iraq and it could undermine fight against Islamic State militants.
In addition, neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Iran and Syria see that such a step would threaten their territorial integrity, as larger populations of Kurds live in those countries.
Besides, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani on Monday slammed the independence referendum by the Kurds, saying the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) adopted an “irresponsible and amateurish approach.”
Speaking at a meeting with Akar in Tehran, Shamkhani said the KRG’s approach to hold the independence vote was “irresponsible and amateur.”
“Paying no attention to the time and security requirements and pursuing tribal goals through this move will reduce the focus on the fight against Takfiri terrorism … and will rapidly spread the harmful security impacts on the Kurdish region of Iraq,” he said.
Shamkhani also stressed the need for coordinated efforts among Tehran, Baghdad and Ankara to manage developments and prevent the negative effect of the independence vote on the fight against terrorism in Iraq.
The Turkish top commander, for his part, stressed the need to support the central government in Iraq and preserve the integrity of the Arab country.
Akar said Iran, Iraq and Turkey will prevent the implementation of separatist plans in the region through joint efforts.
On Monday, Iraqi military forces joined the Iranian Army to stage military exercises in common border regions, Tasnim reported.
In the war game, code-named Heidar-e-Karrar, various units of the Iranian Army, including the Rapid Reaction Unit, the Artillery Unit, and the Drone Unit participated.
The military drills, contributed by some forces of the Iraqi Army, is conducted near the Parviz Khan border post in western Iran.
Following the recent controversial independence referendum of Iraqi Kurdistan region, Iran’s air force reinforced its defensive role along the country’s western borders by deploying new missile hardware.
Last week, the Iranian Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) staged joint military drills along the country’s western border areas.
The IRGC also staged independent drills in the Kurdish populated western provinces.
According to the Iranian military officials, the ongoing war games signals the message of peace and security to the friends and reminds the enemies that the country’s borders will be powerfully protected against hostile moves.