First visit by Iranian military chief of staff to Turkey since Islamic Revolution; Meeting centered on Syria, Kurds; Russian military head to visit Turkey
Iran’s military chief of the Revolutionary Guard, General Mohammad Bagheri, visited Turkey on Wednesday, meeting with Turkish military and political officials, the meetings centered on Syria, the Kurds and “counter terrorism”.
It was the first visit by an Iranian chief of staff to Turkey since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Bagheri met with his counter part as well as Turkey’s Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli,, followed by a private meeting with President Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey announced that Bagheri’s meeting comes ahead of a scheduled meeting in Turkey with “the Russian chief of staff”.
The meetings were reportedly centered on Syria and Kurdish forces on the Iranian and Turkey borders and follows a meeting held in early August between Turkey, Russia and Iran on Syria. Last week, a meeting was held between Russia and Iran on increasing military cooperation, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Dmitry Rogozin and Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan meeting to discuss additional sales of Russian arms to Iran.
Additionally last week, Iran, Turkey and Russia had all signed a deal on investment in oil and gas fields. According to the Shana News Agency, companies from all three states “have signed an agreement on joint investments in oil and gas fields’ development projects… to finance projects both in Iran and outside the country”.
This week’s visit is just another sign of the rapidly increasing relations- economic, political and military- between Turkey, Iran and Russia.
Baqeri stated on his visit “There have been no such visits between the two countries for a long time, but considering regional developments and security issues, border security and the fight against terrorism, there was a need for such a visit.”
As reported earlier this week, Prime Minister Netanyahu was given an intelligence report by Mossad regarding Iran’s ongoing territorial gains in the Middle East, mainly in Syria, the Islamic Republic taking over territory previously taken by ISIS. Chief of the Mossad, Director Yossi Cohen, gave an update to Prime Minister Netanyahu on Sunday, Cohen reporting on Iran’s ongoing rush for territory in the region. According to Cohen, “The areas where Daesh [ISIS] presence is decreasing, Iran is working to fill the void,” referring to Iran’s increasing presence mainly in Syria, but also in Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.