Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at a press conference held in Istanbul today. Photo: IRNA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region— Visiting Ankara on Saturday, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said Syria’s national unity and territorial integrity have to be respected.
Speaking at a press conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Zarif said, “Although there are some differences between Iran and Turkey, but both countries have a common viewpoint on territorial integrity of Syria,” Reuters reported.
On Thursday March 17, the ruling Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria’s Kurdish enclave declared a federal region which includes the three cantons of Cizire, Kobani and Afrin, administrated by the PYD since 2011.
The Kurdish declaration came just days after it was established that PYD would not be allowed into the peace talks in Geneva despite Russian and UN pressure.
Iran, a major supporter of the Syrian regime under President Bashar Assad, has opposed partition of the country along the sectarian lines fearing it would further corner the Shiite Alawites in Syria which Tehran has long sponsored. Turkey has maintained a similar stance but for reasons related to the Kurdish question in Syria which has largely been shaped by Kurdistan’s Workers Party (PKK) which fights for self-rule in Turkey.
"We face common regional threats and of course have different views regarding some issues that should be resolved through dialogue and negotiations." Zarif added.
Heading a delegation, Zarif arrived in Istanbul Saturday to discuss regional matters after Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited Tehran earlier this month.