Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a phone call with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani and discussed Ankara’s recent operations against outlawed PKK and ISIS militant groups, Turkish presidential sources said on late Wednesday.
Erdogan was reportedly said to have told Rouhani about Turkey’s anti-terror operations inside and outside the country as both PKK and ISIS militants targeted Turkish national security by using the power vacuum emerged in the neighbouring countries.
Erdogan told Rouhani that Ankara had used its sovereign rights derived from the Article 51 of the UN Charter on the border security as it launched air strike operations against both PKK and ISIS militants since the end of last month, the office of Turkish presidency announced.
The two leaders have discussed the regional issues concerning the crises in Iraq and Syria where instability and disorder have been affecting most notably Turkey given the fact that the country has a long border with its southern neighbours.
The presidential sources said that Erdogan had reiterated a political solution without Bashar al Assad regime in Syria to the Iranian leadership whereas Rouhani has expressed Iran’s willingness to develop bilateral ties even if the Middle East crises create some policy divergences between Tehran and Ankara.
Rouhani was also said to have expressed his deep sorrows and offered condolences on behalf of Iranian people to the Turkish nation upon the military and civilian casualties caused by PKK and ISIS terror attacks.
Turkey and Iran are known for their policy differences on Syria since Turkey defends Assad regime’s removal from power while Iran backs the regime by means of sending weaponry and human resources.
Iran refreshed its vital support for the Assad regime soon after the nuclear deal as the Syrian Foreign Minister Farid Moualim visited Tehran on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced on Wednesday in Malaysia, where he was attending the 48th meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers, that his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif will visit Ankara next week in order to further negotiate regional issues including Syria, Yemen, ISIS and PKK.
Turkey launched a massive anti-terror campaign against both PKK and ISIS terrorist organisations after the July 20 Suruc bombing that was suspected to have been committed by an ISIS militant and killed 33 Turkish nationals.
Turkey, the EU and the US consider both PKK and ISIS as terror groups and have been struggling against their activities within an active military cooperation and intelligence sharing.
In this sense, Ankara has agreed with Washington to open the Incirlik air base to the utilisation of US-led coalition forces in order to combat the increasing militancy near its borders.
The US authorities on Monday declared that they launched armed intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) missions using Incirlik air base to strike ISIS targets in Syria.