Iraqi FM Jaafari due to visit Turkey, while Turkish diplomat holds talks in northern Iraq
Sevil Erkuş ANKARA
Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari speaks during a news conference with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Baghdad. REUTERS PhotoIraq’s new Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari will visit Turkey from Nov. 5-7 in a bid to restore bilateral ties that deteriorated during the term of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The Iraqi minister’s visit comes amid joint efforts to degrade and defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the region. Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu held talks with Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials in Arbil on Nov. 3, following the Peshmerga forces' crossing through Turkey to support the Syrian Kurds’ fight against jihadists in Kobane in Syria.
Al-Jaafari’s visit will also aim to make arrangements for mutual visits of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to Baghdad and his counterpart, Haider al-Abadi, to Turkey in the upcoming period.
Relations between the two countries have soured considerably in recent years due to oil agreements signed by Turkey with the KRG without the consent of the central Iraqi government.
Ties were further strained after Turkey gave refuge to fugitive Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi.
Meanwhile, the Turkish government has dismissed claims that a second group of Kurdish Peshmerga forces will be sent by the KRG via Turkey to enter the Syrian border town of Kobane to help assist Kurdish groups fighting ISIL militants.
“It is certainly not true that a second convoy or armed force will go to Kobane [via Turkey],” said Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç on late Nov. 3. “We have received neither a demand nor any notice, and there is also no preparation for such a move.”
Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz has said more than 100 Peshmerga fighters entered Kobane last week to fight ISIL, adding that he does not think Syrian Kurds want a second group of Peshmerga fighters to assist them.