By Payman Yazdani 

Referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan will not be helpful: Turkey’s AKP deputy chief  

August 23, 2017

TEHRAN - M. Mehdi Aker, the deputy chief of the ruling Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP), is of the opinion that a decision by the Iraqi Kurdistan Region to hold an independence referendum will not solve any problems.

“The IKBY's decision to set up an independence referendum will not solve any of the problems that the IKBY and Iraq face, but will deepen these problems,” Aker tells the Tehran Times.

Aker also said the recent visit by Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Mohammad Hossein Bagheri to Turkey was “useful” in terms of border security and campaign against terrorism.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: What is the importance of the recent visit by the chairman of the Iranian armed forces to Turkey?

A: The visit of Iranian Chief of General Staff Mohammad Bagheri to our country has been a useful visit to develop cooperation between Turkey and Iran, especially in areas of combating terrorism and border security. 

This visit also provided an important opportunity for our region to assess the contributions of the two countries for security and stability. 

It is also a remarkable visit in terms of being the first visit made at the level of chief of general staff among our countries after many years. 

The developments in our region require us to concentrate our consultations with our neighbors and regional countries at different levels and areas. 
Mr. Bagheri's visit to our country will also be evaluated in this framework.

Q:  One of the issues discussed during Bagheri’s visit was border cooperation. What can be the essence of this cooperation? Is the construction of wall by Turkey in the border with Iran part of this?

A: Border security has various dimensions. 

The modular concrete wall we are building in the border with Iran is also an important project that will increase border security. 

This project aims to combat terror an effectively fight smuggling of people and goods. This issue has also come to the fore in the negotiations held during the visit. 
The wall construction will contribute to the border security of both countries; it will benefit both Turkey and Iran.

Q: Iran and Turkey both oppose Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum, one of the issues discussed by the two sides during General Bagheri’s visit. What joint measures can Iran and Turkey take to this end?

A: Our two important countries, Turkey and Iran, are adversely affected by the unstable environment that has been going on for years in Iraq. 

The IKBY's decision to set up an independence referendum will not solve any of the problems that the IKBY and Iraq face, but will deepen these problems. 

In this context, we urge both the central government and IKBY leadership to resolve the problems between Baghdad and Arbil within the framework of the Iraqi Constitution in order to ensure that no more difficult problems arise in Iraq.

I think that the leadership of the IKBY should work for a united, prosperous, united and prosperous Iraq, ending the referendum decision, which could have very negative consequences.

Q:  How will the visit affect developments in Syria?

A: The visit has given Iran, one of the three guarantors of the ceasefire initiative, will help accelerate the political process in order to find a final solution to the Syrian conflict. 

We hope that the visit will contribute to the struggle that we support for the elimination of the conflict environment altogether by the arbitration of the declared truce in Syria.
 

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