Worldwide

Iranian top general meets Turkey's Erdogan to discuss terrorism

Iranian top general meets Turkey's Erdogan to discuss terrorism

Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri has begun a three-day visit to Turkey at the head of a high-ranking politico-military delegation.

The state-run Anadolu news agency said the hugely unusual talks lasted 50 minutes, but gave no details.

The visit is also aimed at narrowing differences on Syria and coordinating policy on Iraq.

Even though the countries have been lending support to different sides in the Syrian civil war, with Ankara backing moderate rebel groups such as the Free Syrian Army (FSA) while Tehran backs Bashar Assad in his efforts to cling on to power, they initiated the Astana talks along with Russian Federation in late 2016 to end the destructive, six-year civil war.

Erdogan has sometimes lashed out at the rise of "Persian nationalism" in the region, especially concerning the power of Shia militias in Iraq.

Tehran and Ankara enjoy cordial bilateral relations.

In early August, Turkish authorities launched the construction of wall along Turkey's border with Iran in an effort to protect the country from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), listed by Ankara as a terrorist organization. Russia, Turkey and Iran, are sponsoring the negotiations in Astana, dubbed as the Astana Process.

Both Turkey and Iran have substantial Kurdish minorities and they vehemently oppose a plan by Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region to organise a vote on independence later this year.