Erdogan: Turkey and Iran could fight Kurdish militants together



ISTANBUL (dpa) – Turkey has discussed with Iran the prospect of jointly tackling Kurdish militants in the region, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, days after meeting with the Iranian army's chief of staff in Ankara.
Turkey and Iran both have Kurdish minorities - in Turkey the group makes up more than 15 per cent of the population.



"This cooperation has been discussed," Erdogan said, noting that "it is always on the agenda that such a joint action with Iran could be taken against these terrorist organizations that have become threatening entities."
The armed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has been fighting with the Turkish state for more than 30 years. In 2015, a ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK broke down.
The PKK has regional affiliates and likeminded organizations, including one in Iran.
Turkey has for a number of years been growing increasingly concerned about the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG, which has vastly expanded the territory under its control in neighbouring Syria, as its seizes land from Islamic State.
The YPG is the main US ally on the ground in Syria, despite Turkey’s protests.
Turkey and Iran are on opposite sides in the Syrian civil war, with Tehran a major backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Erdogan's government supporting Syrian rebel groups.
The trip by chief of staff Mohammad Baqeri to Ankara last week was the first such visit in decades, and took place ahead of a planned referendum for independence by Kurds in northern Iraq next month.
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Monday, August 21st 2017
dpa
           


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