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Turkey, Iran Could Unite to Overcome Their Kurdish Worries
By Metin Gurcan

It has not quite been eight months since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan riled Tehran by referring to Iranian expansionism as "Persian nationalism." That televised statement earned the Turkish ambassador a summons to the Iranian Foreign Ministry to receive a strongly worded protest. Long-standing regional competition between Ankara and Tehran has, however, begun to show the first signs of a rapprochement during the ongoing crisis between Qatar and a Saudi-led Arab coalition, in which Turkey backs Qatar. In addition, the Sept. 25 independence referendum held by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq has resulted in the Ankara-Tehran relationship quickly assuming features of military-security cooperation. The question now is whether their converging military-security interests will be formalized.

Three meetings provide insight into the rapprochement and its future direction: the Aug. 14-15 visit of Iranian Chief of Staff Gen. Mohammad Bagheri to Ankara; the Oct. 1-4 visit to Tehran by Turkish Chief of the General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar; and the Oct. 4 visit to Tehran by Erdogan.

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