Turkey to take stronger steps in response to Iraqi Kurdish referendum - Erdogan

The president also said: "The Islamic Republic of Iran has responded positively to the request for help from the neighbouring countries and is now ready to cooperate more with other countries, including Ireland".

He made the remarks in a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Tehran on Wednesday.

After 1979 Islamic Revolution, for the first time, Military Chief of Turkey visited Iran on Monday.

Both presidents drew particular attention to the regional developments in Iraq after the KRG independence referendum on September 25, both asserting that the referendum was illegitimate and null and that Iraq's territorial integrity is important for regional stability.

Iran and Turkey have threatened to join Baghdad in imposing economic sanctions on Iraqi Kurdistan, as the country leaders Hasan Rouhani and Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to support not changing Iraq's borders.

"This shows one thing, that this administration (in northern Iraq) has a history with Mossad, they are hand-in-hand together", Erdogan said in Erzurum, in eastern Turkey.

Slamming the decision to hold a referendum, Mr. Erdogan said that there is no legality of the referendum and rejected it. But Ankara now participates in repeated rounds of Syria negotiations with Russian Federation and Iran, in Astana.

Turkey also has sizeable Kurdish population -14 million, out of a total population of about 81 million - that resides in the southeast of the country and bordering Iraq and Iran's Kurdish territories.

Iraq's central government also opposes the vote.

Rouhani said: "Iran and Turkey, as two friendly, Muslim states, are the centerline of regional stability". "Turkey, Iran and Iraq have no choice but to take serious and necessary measures to protect their strategic goals in the region", Reuters quoted Rouhani as saying.

He added that the two countries will continue their fight against terror groups, such as Daesh, Jabhat Fateh al Sham and the PKK.

Both presidents said cooperation against terrorism will be strengthened between Iran and Turkey and terrorism will not be allowed in the region.

The two governments have taken opposing sides in the six-year civil war in Syria but relations have thawed this year with them both joining Russian Federation as co-sponsors of peace talks which began in Kazakstan in January.

Baghdad has responded with further measures, having already announced sanctions on Kurdish banks, and halting all fights and foreign currency transfers to the Kurdish region.

The Iranian military announced on October 2 it would host joint military exercises with the Iraqi army near the Iraqi Kurdish region.

Erdogan's trip to Iran comes a week after Russia's President Vladimir Putin visited Ankara, as ties between Turkey and both Iran and Russian Federation grow amid common regional security concerns, especially in Syria.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his country was exercising a policy of non-interference and using cautious rhetoric after the independence referendum in Kurdistan in order not to explode the situation in the region.

  • Jon Douglas