Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (Photo: AFP)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday visited Ankara for his third set of talks with top Turkish officials in less than one-and-a-half-months despite standing on opposite sides of the Syria conflict, sources said.
Zarif met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in an unscheduled trip to Ankara on his way back to Tehran from a visit to New York for the UN General Assembly, a Turkish diplomatic source told AFP.
They discussed bilateral and regional issues, including the Syrian conflict, the source added.
Zarif was later due to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, the premier's office said.
Iran and Turkey stand on two opposing sides of the conflict in neighbouring Syria, with Tehran one of the few allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Ankara backing rebels fighting for his ouster.
Turkey has launched an unprecedented operation inside Syria, with the aim of cleansing its frontier of terror groups including Islamic State (IS) jihadists.
Ankara is also pressing for a safe zone inside its war-torn neighbour to shelter refugees.
Despite the differences over Syria -- and Ankara's increasingly close relationship with Tehran's arch rival Saudi Arabia -- the two countries have worked hard in the last months to preserve a strong relationship.
The visit comes amid a flurry of diplomatic contacts between Turkey and Iran since the summer in the wake of the July 15 failed coup.
Tehran was swift to voice support for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the attempted coup, winning praise from Ankara for its rapid reaction.
Cavusoglu made a surprise visit to Tehran in mid-August, after Zarif held talks in the Turkish capital the same month.