A planned ceremony to sign several business and economic cooperation deals between Turkey and Iran was cancelled, but during the official two-day visit of the Turkish prime minister at the helm of a 130-man delegate, the two neighbors signed a security cooperation pact and agreed to jointly crush the Turkey’s Kurdish militants of the KKP. July 30, 2004 - The dispute over the price of Iran’s gas export to Turkey, and the domestic dispute within the Islamic government over the airport management contract with the Turkish-Austrian concern TAV, prevented the two governments from holding an official deal signing ceremony on Thursday, on the last day of Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Tehran. But that did not prevent the neighbors from agreeing on a security pact which includes cooperation against Turkey’s Kurdish militants and the Iraq-based anti-regime group MKO.
The Kurdish armed group changed its name last June from PKK to Kongra-Gul, and ended the self-proclaimed ceasefire it was observing in its battle against the Turkish government.
“I think the security cooperation between the two countries is bearing fruit,” Erdogan said.
“Iran has agreed to put rebels from the former Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on its list of terror groups,” the Islamic government’s deputy interior minister for security affairs Ali Asghar Ahmadi said.
Turkey in return agreed to place the Iraq-based anti-regime group the Mojahedin-e Khalaq Organization (MKO), on its terror list.
“Both Iran and Turkey have decided to brand the PKK and MKO as terrorist groups, and what was signed today stated that even if they continue to operate under different names, they will continue to be dealt with as terrorist groups,” Ahmadi said.
In an crackdown earlier this month, the Islamic government’s security forces killed 35 PKK members hiding inside Iran’s borders. The group’s hideouts in Iran had been the target of Turkish air raids in the past.
On the dispute between the two neighbors over Iran’s gas exports, Erdogan said the energy officials of the two nations need to negotiate more, indicating that no agreement had been reached during his visit. Turkey halted gas imports from Iran last year, complaining about the price and quality of the gas Iran was piping to Turkey, through a pipeline built for that purpose by the two countries.
The visit did not produce any accord on TAV's airport management deal. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps forcibly shut down Tehran’s new international airport on May 8, the day it began operations after 35 years in development. IRGC officers said the Khatami government’s deal with Turkish-Austrian consortium TAV for managing the airport endangered Iran's national security.
During his visit, Erdogan met with President Khatami, ministers of oil, defense and foreign affairs, as well as Majles speaker Gholamali Haddad-Adel.