Iran vows further cooperation with Turkey against PKK

When asked about recent Turkish media reports that Iranian forces had captured but later released a senior PKK commander, Murat Karayılan, in August, Salehi said Karayılan was “never captured by Iran.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Friday that terrorism is a common problem for Turkey and Iran and that cooperation between the two countries should increase during his visit to Ankara at a time when Turkey seeks more regional support in its fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Salehi had talks with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu in the morning and is scheduled to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül to discuss further cooperation against the PKK.

In the past, Turkey and Iran have staged coordinated attacks against the PKK’s main bases in the Kandil Mountains, which sit on the Iraqi-Iranian border deep inside northern Iraq. “We need to fight against it with more serious cooperation,” Salehi said at a joint press conference in Ankara with Davutoğlu.

Davutoğlu said Turkish-Iranian cooperation will continue until the PKK and its Iranian wing, the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), are eliminated. “Solidarity is inevitable in the face of this militant organization, which is a threat to all countries in the region,” Davutoğlu said.

The two ministers also discussed recent developments in the region, including the death of ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Davutoğlu said. Noting that Turkey had supported the democratic demands of people in its brother countries, Davutoğlu said Turkey hopes Libya completes its transition process as soon as possible in accordance with the democratic demands of its people.

Stating that they also discussed the recent situation in Syria, Davutoğlu said recent developments in the region show that regimes that inflict violence on their own people cannot survive. “Turkey did what it could do for a peaceful transition process in Syria. However, Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad unfortunately continued to go his own way,” Davutoğlu said.

“Karayılan never captured”

When asked about recent Turkish media reports that Iranian forces had captured but later released a senior PKK commander, Murat Karayılan, in August, Salehi said Karayılan was “never captured by Iran.” “How can first capturing and releasing Karayılan serve Iran? We acknowledge that both the PKK and PJAK are militant groups,” he said, adding that Iran is determined to fight both groups.

Salehi’s visit comes on the heels of a visit by Nechirvan Barzani, the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) second in command and former prime minister of the Kurdish regional administration in northern Iraq. During his visit to Ankara Barzani said he had come to offer the condolences of the Kurdish regional government for a series of attacks by the PKK in Turkey’s southeast on Wednesday that left 24 soldiers dead. Barzani also vowed further cooperation with Turkey against the PKK, saying the regional administration’s cooperation with Turkey will be expanded in many areas.

Cihan

21 October 2011 Friday