Turkey, Iran Commanders Agree to Continue Operations Against PKK

Iran earlier this week denied a Turkish announcement that the two countries were carrying out a joint operation against the PKK

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party, January 15, 2019.
\ Umit Bektas/ REUTERS

Turkish and Iranian military commanders agreed in a phone call to continue joint operations against militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) for "some time", Turkey's Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.

Iran earlier this week denied a Turkish announcement that the two countries were carrying out a joint operation against the PKK. 

Turkey's military regularly carries out air strikes against PKK militants in northern Iraq and has carried out operations to arrest alleged members of the group inTurkey. The PKK is deemed a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union.

Two Turkish soldiers were killed and eight others were wounded on Saturday in a clash during operations into northern Iraq,Turkey's defense ministry said.

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Turkey's Interior Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that Turkish Gendarme Commander Arif Cetin and Iranian Border Forces Commander Qassem Rezai discussed the joint operations.

In a separate phone call Turkish and Iranian deputy interior ministers welcomed the stage reached in the joint operations, the ministry said.

Earlier this week Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey and Iran were carrying out a joint operation against the PKK, describing it as the first of its kind, but an Iranian source said Iran's armed forces were not part of the operation.