Turkish FM to visit Iraq for consolidation of ties with new administration

14:18 • 11.10.18



Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Chavushoghlu will pay a visit to Iraq on October 11-12 and meet officials both in Arbil and Baghdad following the Iraqi elections, in which a new political leadership that has a good record of dialogue with Ankara has taken the seat.


During his two-day official visit, Chavushoghlu will meet Iraqi President Barham Salih, other Iraqi political leaders and representatives of the Turkmen community and hold high-level meetings in Arbil, Hurriyet Daily News reports, citing the Foreign Ministry.


Turkey-Iraq bilateral relations, bilateral cooperation opportunities—particularly the reconstruction of Iraq, will be on his agenda, the statement added.


Turkey and Iraq have been at odds for the past few years over the presence of Turkish troops in Bashiqa in northern Iraq, where Turkey set up a camp in 2015 to train local Sunni groups and Kurdish peshmerga to fight against ISIL around Mosul.


Steps for normalization were taken over a visit by former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim to Baghdad on January 2017 and the two parties agreed to resolve the issue of the Bashiqa camp through consultations. Ankara had pledged to pull its troops from Bashiqa once the presence of ISIL in Iraq was cleared.


A referendum for independence carried out by Iraqi Kurds brought Ankara and Baghdad to a common position against the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in September 2017 and paved the way for deepening bilateral relations.


“We will from now on only consider the central government in Baghdad as a legitimate interlocutor, not the KRG based in Arbil,” Yıldırım said after the referendum and Turkish officials skipped the de facto capital of Iraqi Kurds for a while during their visits paid to Iraq.





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