Just four months after accusing Iran of Persian “expansionism” in the Middle East, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Tehran on Oct. 4 to discuss bilateral cooperation and an expansion of economic ties with the country's highest officials. One of the issues that has recently brought Iran and Turkey closer is the Kurdish independence referendum held Sept. 25 in northern Iraq. The vote poses a challenge to both countries because of their own Kurdish populations.
While in Iran, Erdogan met with the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's highest authority. Speaking about the Iraqi Kurdistan referendum, Khamenei said, “In confronting this event, Iran and Turkey must take every possible action, and Iraq's government must take serious actions on this issue.” He called the referendum “treason” against the region and a future threat with possible long-term consequences.