Iran, Turkey Agree to Enhance Defense Coop.

Iran, Turkey  Agree to Enhance Defense Coop. Iran, Turkey  Agree to Enhance Defense Coop.

Turkey and Iran have agreed to boost defense cooperation after talks in Ankara this week between Iran's military chief and Turkish leaders, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman said on Thursday.

Chairman of the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri met Erdogan on Wednesday on a visit, which was the first to Turkey by an Iranian military chief since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.

Erdogan's spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, described the visit as "fruitful and successful", adding that talks focused on counter-terrorism, the battle with the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group and a joint effort by Iran, Turkey and Russia to stem the fighting in parts of Syria, Reuters reported.

"An agreement was reached to hold further high-level visits from now on," Kalin told a news conference. "A series of activities will also be held to boost military cooperation."

Baqeri's trip to Ankara came days ahead of a planned visit by US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Ties between NATO allies Turkey and the United States have been strained by Washington's support for Kurdish YPG fighters leading the assault on IS in the Syrian city of Raqqa.

Turkey says YPG is indistinguishable from the outlawed Kurdish PKK that has been waging an insurgency in southeast Turkey for more than 30 years. Washington sees it as a vital ally in the fight to defeat IS.

Tasnim News Agency quoted Baqeri as saying he agreed with Turkey to hold joint training courses and increase counter-terrorism intelligence sharing.

Baqeri said Erdogan would visit Iran in the near future.


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