Turkey and Iran’s Entente in Iraq

Ankara and Tehran appear to be cooperating against the Kurds in Iraq.

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Earlier this week, there appeared to be a thaw in tensions between Iran and Turkey. After months of tense exchanges, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Istanbul to discuss “all aspects” of the Iranian-Turkish relationship with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu. After the meeting, the ministers announced plans to deepen trade ties, further cooperate in the Syrian peace process and reopen Iran-Turkey border crossings. These developments are part of a new Middle Eastern entente in the making. Last year, Turkey launched Operation Claw against militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq, and just this week, it launched aerial and ground offensives, dubbed Operation Claw-Eagle and Operation Claw-Tiger, that involved the deployment of ground, artillery and air units to “neutralize” 500 PKK targets and set up a series of temporary bases in the region. In the past, Turkey has launched these types of counterterrorism operations alone. But this time, it had backup. And as Operation Claw-Eagle began, Iranian artillery units simultaneously shelled multiple PKK hideouts along the Iran-Iraq border around the Haji Omeran district. (click to enlarge) Iran’s assault on the PKK was more than just a coincidence; it appears that Ankara and Tehran are creating […]

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Caroline D. Rose
Caroline Rose has a Masters of Science (MSc) in the History of International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Just before joining GPF she served as a Research Associate for LSE’s International Drug Policy Unit (IDPU), where she researched the nexus between illicit economies and armed insurgencies. She earned her undergraduate degree from American University's School of International Service and has worked previously at both Brookings Institute and the Atlantic Council. Her studies and projects at these institutions covered a range of topics, from Russian and Chinese cyber warfare, evolving American interest within a changing international order, and grand security strategies against state-led revisionism in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific. Throughout she's written for a diverse array of publications including Limes in Italy.