Iran says ISIS and PKK threaten security in the region
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed that both the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) threaten security in the region during their meeting in Turkmenistan on Sunday.
"Terrorist groups not only cause insecurity in Afghanistan but also threaten the security of the region, so we should not allow terrorist groups such as ISIL (ISIS) and the PKK to threaten the security of countries in the region," Raisi said, according to a press readout from the Iranian Presidency.
The two leaders met each other on the sidelines of the 15th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) summit in Turkmenistan.
Moreover, Erdogan allegedly blamed the United States for supporting ISIS and PKK. The readout, however, was not confirmed by Turkish state media.
"The White House is training and arming all terrorist groups in the region, including ISIL and the PKK, and providing them with terrorist equipment and tools to create insecurity," the Turkish president was quoted saying by Iran's presidency website.
Iran has always shifted on the PKK. Question really is whether this is simply for Turkish consumption or means a substantive shift. I’d bet the former. https://t.co/HnRlweAfDV— Aliza Marcus (@AlizaMarcus) November 29, 2021
Aliza Marcus, an expert on the PKK, pointed out that Iran has always shifted its positions on the group.
"Question really is whether this is simply for Turkish consumption or means a substantive shift. I'd bet the former," she tweeted.
The PKK has been locked in a decades-long conflict against Ankara over Kurdish rights in Turkey that has led to tens of thousands of deaths on both sides.
The group is headquartered in the mountains near the Turkish and Iranian borders, including the Kurdistan Region's Qandil Mountains.
Both countries in the past have carried out military operations near Iraq's northern borders in the past, targeting the PKK and Iranian Kurdish groups, including the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI).
Iran has kept good relations with Turkey. It is a member of the Russian-backed Astana Format and rejected Kurdish self-rule in northeast Syria in joint statements with Russia and Turkey.