Iran Denies Role in Turkish Assault on Kurdish PKK Militants

(Bloomberg) -- Iran denied taking part in a joint military assault with neighboring Turkey against Kurdish PKK separatists.

Turkey said Monday it had begun a coordinated operation with Iran targeting the militants near its eastern border, a rare public acknowledgment of their collaboration against Kurdish separatism.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with Kanal 7 on Monday evening that the two countries had been discussing the operation for some time: “More will come. Both the Iranian side and our friends are maintaining their determinations on joint operations.”

But the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency cited an unidentified army official as saying the country had no involvement in the Turkish offensive. The comment was also carried by other official Iranian media. The official gave no more details.

The PKK is pushing for an autonomous Kurdish state in Turkey and is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union. Iranian forces also suppress separatist Kurds in the country’s northwest.

The two states collaborated on several attacks a decade ago against the main PKK rebel base on Mount Qandil on the Iran-Iraq border. They are also cooperating, along with Russia, in confronting al-Qaeda-linked militants in Syria.

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