ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - Tehran and Ankara could "at any moment" conduct a joint military operation against the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighters, revealed the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday following his last week meeting with the Iranian Chief of General Staff Mohammad Baqeri.
"During this visit [to Ankara by Baqeri] we as the members of the same faith [Islam] discussed an imminent joint operation with Iran against this terrorist group," said Erdogan at a press conference at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport before an official trip to Jordan.
PKK along other armed Kurdish groups including its Iranian offshoot Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK) as well as Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) and Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan are all based in Kurdistan Region's Qandil mountains that straddle along Iran-Iraq border.
Turkish President's statements came as the Kurdistan Region prepares to go to a referendum on September 25 on independence from Iraq, a move that has drawn pronounced opposition from both regional powers who fight Kurdish group demanding self-rule.
"We along our chiefs of staff talked of all diplomatic and military dimensions of such cooperation. As you know, PKK terror group's franchise in Iran is PJAK. They continue to harm us and Iran," said Erdogan, adding he hoped success, according to the state-funded Anadolu Agency.
In June when the Kurdish President Masoud Barzani announced the referendum, the Turkish pro-government, Islamist Yenisafak newspaper claimed that Ankara was considering a military intervention against the PKK bases in Iraq that could potentially disrupt Kurdistan region's plans for independence.
Although rivals in their regional foreign policies, both the Islamic Republic of Iran, the primary sponsor of Shiite sect of Islam and Turkey, constitutionally secular but increasingly pro-Sunni, share similar views regarding demands for federalism by Kurds within their borders, and those backed by the US in Iraq and Syria.
The NATO member Turkey and Iran recently agreed on building a 144 kilometers long (90 miles) wall along their porous border to deny PKK fighters freedom of movement.
That border last saw a change for the first time in over 400 years when the two nations exchanged a small chunk of territory at the beginning of the 1930s to help a young Turkish state crush the short-lived Republic of Ararat declared by the Kurds.
Editing by Ava Homa