Iraqi president visits Turkey with military and financial support on the agenda
Sevil Erkuş - ANKARA
AFP PhotoIraqi President Fuad Masum will pay an official visit to Turkey accompanied by the national security adviser to the Iraqi prime minister and officials from the Iraqi ministries of interior and culture April 21-23.
Included in the agenda will be talks on Turkey’s ongoing military aid to Iraqi security forces, the training and equipment of the Iraqi army in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the financial support Ankara pledged to Iraq to aid the reconstruction of the country, according to diplomatic sources.
Following the talks in Ankara on April 22, Masum will attend a “Peace Summit” in Istanbul as part of Turkey’s three-day-long organization to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign during World War I.
Turkey has been training Iraqi Kurdish fighters since November 2014, along with a recent training program for Sunni and Turkmen Iraqis ahead of a military operation to liberate Mosul. Kurdish Peshmerga forces are expected to be on the front lines in the northern and eastern regions of Mosul.
The Turkish military began training 800 al-Hashed Watani militia fighters in a camp north of Mosul with the participation of 20 Turkish officers. In March, Turkey sent two cargo planes carrying non-lethal military equipment for 500 central Iraqi government soldiers.
Iraq has been under constant threat from ISIL militants, who overtook Mosul last June and have captured large swathes of northern Iraq and Syria, sending Iraqi security forces and soldiers fleeing.
The Iraqi army and Shiite militias are widely expected to begin a major offensive to retake Mosul from ISIL, backed with air support from a U.S.-led international coalition.