United States seeks 'new Israel' in region, Khamenei says of Iraq Kurd referendum

Russia confirms Turkey has made advance payment for S-400s

Just prior to Erdogan's visit, Turkish Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar visited Tehran, where he sat down for talks with senior Iranian officials, including President Rouhani and Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami.

"Iran, Turkey and Iraq are obliged to take serious and necessary measures", he said in reference to retaliatory measures adopted since Iraqi Kurdistan's disputed September 25 independence referendum.

In a join presser after a closed-door meeting in the Saadabad Complex, Erdoğan said that "all regional matters were on the agenda and discussed" at the meeting.

The Turkish top commander, for his part, stressed the need to support the central government in Iraq and preserve the integrity of the Arab country.

Turkey and Iran both have a sizeable Kurdish community and fear last week's vote will encourage their own Kurdish populations to do the same.

Iran and Turkey maintain that Iraq and Syria must each remain a unified country, he added.




"The referendum in Iraq's Kurdistan is a sectarian plot by foreign countries and is rejected by Tehran and Ankara", Rouhani said, according to state TV.

In a televised broadcast Saturday Erdogan claimed that Turkey had been saddened to see some Iraqi Kurds celebrating the independence referendum with Israeli flags.

Rouhani said the two countries will work together to counter the disintegration of Iraq and Syria, and to ease tension in the crisis-hit region. He also said that de-escalation zones were very important for Turkey. The two countries have held military manoeuvres close to their borders with Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region in recent days to ratchet up the pressure on Kurdish leaders. Iran said it will allow Iraqi federal forces to deploy at its border crossings with the region. Turkey had already shut down its border with Iraqi Kurdistan.

Iran and Turkey have been rivals for centuries but have recently sought to forge a pragmatic relationship, with the Islamic Republic strongly supporting Erdogan after last year's failed coup.

Emphasising joint fight in Syria against ISIL and al-Nusra Front, Erdoğan said: "I am sure that as the result of this fight, we will help the oppressed Syrian people and common efforts to defend all the oppressed people of the world is our duty".

The United States opposed the referendum as a destabilizing move at a time when all sides in the region are still fighting Islamic State.

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