nsnbc : Turkey’s armed forces, on September 23, increased the level of the ongoing surprise military drill on the border to Iraq’s Kurdistan Autonomous Region (KAR) while the chiefs of staff of Turkey, Iraq and Iran will hold trilateral talks soon amid latest developments and tensions over the independence referendum in the KAR and other areas scheduled for September 25.
The ongoing surprise military exercise was announced and started on September 18, exactly one week before the scheduled independence referendum in Iraq’s Kurdistan Autonomous Region and some areas and cities outside the region, including Kirkuk.
The exercise began in the southeastern province of Sirnak’s Silopi district, which sits to the north of the Syrian and Iraqi borders. The army said the exercise is “part of Turkey’s anti-terror operations” in the border region.
Fears that Turkey, the federal government of Iraq in Baghdad and Iran could respond militarily to the independence referendum were substantiated on September 23, when it was announced that the chief of staff of Turkey, Iran and Iraq will hold trilateral talks soon amid latest developments in the region.
Turkey’s Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar will meet his Iranian counterpart Major General Mohamed Baqeri ahead of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Tehran on October 4.
The two soldiers are expected to discuss Iraq and developments in Syria as well as fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The Iranian chief of staff had visited Ankara on August 15.Separately, Iraqi Chief of Staff Gen. Othman al-Ghanimi arrived in Ankara on September 23.
Gen. al-Ghanimi and Gen. Akar will hold their meeting at the Turkish General Staff headquarters in Ankara. The two officials will discuss the planned referendum in Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), Iraq’s territorial integrity as well as fight against terrorism during their meeting.
CH/L – nsnbc 23.09.2017
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