Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Iran's Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri in Ankara, Turkey August 16, 2017. (Reuters photo)
ANKARA, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- NATO member Turkey and neighboring Iran have agreed to reinforce bilateral military cooperation during talks in Ankara this week between the Turkish leaders and the Iranian army chief, Turkish presidential spokesman Inrahim Kalin said on Tuesday.
"We have decided to expand our bilateral cooperation including the military field. This visit was constructive and will have positive results," said Inrahim Kalin to reporters in the Turkish capital during a press briefing.
Kalin did not elaborate on the nature of this cooperation but experts predict that it would concern activities of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and its Iranian offshoot PEJAK.
Turkey has begun constructing a 144-kilometer-long wall on the Iranian border, officially aimed at tackling illegal infiltrations of armed militants and preventing drug smuggling.
A similar barrier has already been built on the Syrian border and is nearing completion.
Erdogan, Defense minister Nurettin Canikli and Turkish Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar met Iranian General Mohammad Baqeri on Tuesday and Wednesday, discussing security matters and regional conflicts, such as the situation in Syria and Iraq.
The Iranian military official is the first of this rank to visit Turkey since the Iranian revolution, in 1979, said the Turkish press. He was accompanied by a high-level military delegation.
In statements made to the Iranian media, reported by the Turkish press, General Baqeri said that his country and Turkey have agreed on intelligence sharing, operational cooperation, navy port visits and also on army cadets exchange.
Ibrahim Kalin also said that the U.S. secretary of Defense Jim Mattis would visit Turkey in the next days.
The Turkish spokesman called once again on the Iraq's Kurdistan regional administration to postpone the independence referendum planned on Sept. 25th.
Turkey and Iran have voiced opposition to this vote, but Kurdish leaders have not cancelled the referendum. Kurds are a sizable minority in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey and have factions pushing for autonomy in each of those neighboring countries.
According to Turkish sources who spoke to Xinhua, talks with the Iranian delegation also touched on efforts to advance towards a peaceful solution of the Syrian crisis, where Ankara and Teheran are on opposing sides.
Earlier on Thursday, Iran's Chief of Staff Gen. Mohamed Baqeri said, "We agreed on joint training and student exchange. The navies of the two countries will visit each other. The countries will provide observers in military drills," local Hurriyet Daily News reported, citing Iranian media sources.
The General also noted that his talks with Turkish officials went "very successfully," and Turkish President Erdogan will visit Iran soon.
Ankara and Teheran in the past had troubled periods in their relationship but they have a common enemy in Syria and Iraq -- the Islamic State (IS).
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Turkish broadcaster TRT Haber on Wednesday that the Russian chief of staff will be coming soon to Turkey to discuss the six-year-old Syrian war.