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Turkey Tells U.S. Iran Sanctions ‘a Mistake’ While Forging Closer Ties with Tehran

Erdogan's poll success tightened his 15-year grip on power in the face of a revitalised opposition
AFP/BULENT KILIC

Turkey denounced the embargo imposed by its NATO ally the United States on state sponsor of terror Iran as a “mistake,” arguing that America “does not have the right” to force other countries to implement its unilateral decision,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the state-run Anadolu Agency (AA) on Friday.

“The United States may take a decision, but it’s not right to impose this decision on other countries. We will continue our principled attitude,” the minister declared, Hurriyet Daily News reports, citing AA.

Cavusoglu added that “President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan conveyed Ankara’s stance with regard to the issue of Iran to his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump and to a delegation of U.S. senators who recently visited Turkey.”

Turkey’s defense of Iran comes as Erdogan is trying to convince Tehran to join its offensive against the terrorist Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), headquartered in Iraqi Kurdistan’s sprawling Qandil mountain range that covers straddles the borders of Turkey and Iran.

So far, Tehran has refused to join Turkey’s offensive against the PKK, a group designated a terrorist organization by Ankara, Washington, and other NATO members.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran thinks military action against the territory of another country without permission from its legitimate government, with the excuse of combating terrorism, is illegal,” Gen. Abulfazil Sherkarchi, a spokesperson for the Iranian military, reportedly stated referring to Turkey’s anti-PKK operation in northern Iraq.

Acknowledging that Iraq and Iran do not have any role in Turkey’s offensive, Hurriyet Daily News reported last month, “The Turkish military has been carrying out the operation against the PKK in Iraq since March. Turkey has 11 bases established in the region and troops are moving roughly 30 kilometers [about 19 miles] in the Harkurk region that falls northeast of Qandil.”

Neighboring Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey house a Kurdish population, including separatist groups. All four countries have come out against the establishment of an independent Kurdistan state.

The PKK affiliated Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) has attacked Iranian soil in the past, but current Tehran is in a “de-escalation” process with the group.

Nevertheless, the Turkish foreign minister reportedly argued on June 22″

The PKK and Iran are currently in a de-conflict phase. Tehran knows that the group is ‘a cell sleeping’ on its soil at the moment. But the group may target Iran again any moment. … If the PKK/PJAK is not attacking Iran at the moment that does not mean they will not do two days later. Iran is aware of this.

U.S. support for the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria considered a PKK affiliate by Turkey had driven a wedge between Ankara and Washington.

In Syria, Turkey is supporting groups opposed to the Iran-backed regime of dictator Bashar al-Assad.

Given that the PKK stronghold in the Iraqi Kurdistan’s Qandil mountain is close to the Iranian border, an operation to fully clear the region of the Kurdish terrorists would be impossible without Tehran’s blessing argue some analysts like Erbil-based journalist Erbil-based journalist Hemin Hosnaw, Al-Monitor pointed out in early June.

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