Turkey to take stronger steps in response to Iraqi Kurdish referendum - Erdogan

Israel has been among the only countries to openly support an independent Kurdish state, and many Kurds have openly welcomed Israel's support, drawing accusations from Arab leaders that last week's referendum was a Zionist plot.

The MOUs were signed in a ceremony attended by the Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a Farsi report by Tasnim News Agency said.

The spokesman of Iran's foreign ministry, Bahram Ghasemi has said on Wednesday that Iran and Turkey are drawing ever closer in the wake of the Iraqi Kurdish referendum on independence.

Iran and Turkey have threatened to join Baghdad in imposing economic sanctions on Iraqi Kurdistan, as the country leaders Hasan Rouhani and Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to support not changing Iraq's borders.

Iraq military steps up bid to isolate Kurdish region
The United States does not recognize the independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan U.S. The referendum has stirred fears of a new regional conflict.

The two governments fear the secession of Iraq's Kurds would stoke separatist sentiment among their own large Kurdish minorities and are eager to work together with the federal government in Baghdad to block it.

Judge Emirsah Bastog read out guilty verdicts for 42 of the 47 defendants, according to a Reuters reporter at the court in Mugla, southwestern Turkey.

Iranian armed forces spokesman Masoud Jazayeri said the decision to carry out the drills followed a high-level meeting of Iranian commanders where "the territorial integrity and unity of Iraq and the illegitimacy of the independence referendum in northern Iraq were stressed again".

The vote was strongly opposed by the central government in Baghdad, Iran, Turkey and other countries including the United States.

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The two governments have taken opposing sides in the six-year civil war in Syria but relations have thawed this year with them both joining Russian Federation as co-sponsors of peace talks which began in Kazakstan in January. Some of the accused said they did not believe the court could deliver a fair verdict and had been under political pressure.

On the economic front, Rouhani and Erdogan underlined the goal of tripling two-way trade to $30 billion in 2018, to be processed in their own currencies, easing the pressure on Iran whose banking sector is subject to USA sanctions.

But for the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Turkey's military chief of staff General Hulusi Akar visited Iran on Monday, signaling closer cooperation with an old regional rival.

The spokesman added that in discussions with turkey regarding Syria there are some positive trends and the two countries have entered a new atmosphere in their relations.

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  • Ryan Wade