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Iranian-Turkish Hypocrisy in a Joint Statement

Nida Al-Watan, Lebanon, September 11

Last week, Turkey and Iran held a high-level virtual summit attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Hassan Rouhani. At the conclusion of the event, the two issued a joint statement expressing their commitment to target the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and its affiliates in joint military operations. However, the statement had several glaring omissions. Chief among them was the absence of the name “Islamic State.” This is no coincidence. Both Turkey and Iran directly contributed to the making of ISIS. While Turkey allowed its fighters to cross in and out of Syria, Iran supported its leaders. In other words, the sole purpose of this summit – which was the first to be held by the two countries in over two years – was to confirm their joint hatred for, and aggression against, the Kurds. The two countries stressed, according to the statement, “coordinated steps against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the PJAK,” its Iranian extension. Simply put, this means that Iran and Turkey have agreed to continue violating Iraq’s territorial integrity from both east and west while attacking its Kurdish citizens without any respect for sovereignty. In fact, Turkish attacks on Iraq have only intensified over the past few years. Iran practices a similar policy on the eastern borders of Iraqi Kurdistan, sometimes in the name of pursuing smugglers, and sometimes under the pretext of chasing terrorists. With the new Turkish-Iranian agreement, the Iraqi government will face greater complications in its relations with its two neighbors. Even in the paragraph pertaining to Syria, the Turkish-Iranian accord made no mention of terrorism. Iran seems content with Turkey having cut off the Idlib region from the rest of Syria, and Turkey indicated its consent to Iranian involvement in the country without going into detail, not even mentioning Russia. Similarly, the statement makes no reference to Lebanon or the port disaster in Beirut. One could consider this a positive sign if it weren’t for the fact that the two countries are already involved in the political turmoil unfolding in Lebanon. – Tony Francis (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)