Turkey offers to help rebuild Mosul
Sevil Erkuş - ANKARAPrime Minister Binali Yıldırım congratulated his Iraqi counterpart, Haider al-Abadi, on Iraq’s declared victory against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in a phone call on July 19 and offered Turkey’s help to rebuild the devastated city, Iraqi Ambassador to Ankara Hisham al-Alawi has said.
Yıldırım conveyed his congratulations and wished the Iraqi government success in liberating the remaining cities and towns, al-Alawi told reporters on July 20.
“The two prime ministers talked about a possible contribution that Turkey could make when it comes to the stabilization and reconstruction of those towns. We said we very much valued the support Turkey could give in this regard,” he said.
The two also spoke about the need to maximize cooperation regarding the fight against terrorism, he added.
Asked about Iraq’s expectations from Turkey in the reconstruction of the destroyed Mosul, al-Alawi stressed that Baghdad was interested particularly in the role the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency Directorate (TİKA) could have.
A draft memorandum of understanding was prepared during a visit by Yıldırım to Baghdad earlier this year, but it is yet to be signed since Ankara wants diplomatic immunity for the agency’s personnel that will operate in Iraq.
Al-Alawi also recalled an invitation extended to al-Abadi by Yıldırım in an earlier visit. The ambassador stressed the Iraqi Prime Minister would visit Turkey after a resolution to the dispute over Turkish deployment in the Bashiqa camp in northern Iraq.
“Positive developments on the ground will be a good way to resolve the existing issues and problems, including the Bashiqa camp issue; it will be a right environment for al-Abadi to come and visit Turkey,” he said.
Al-Alawi said they were working on a visit by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to Iraq in a few weeks and the Iraqi Foreign Minister to Turkey to lay grounds for al-Abadi’s visit to Turkey.
Al-Abadi and Yıldırım also discussed the issue on the Iraqi Kurdish referendum for independence.
Turkey emphasized its support for Iraq’s territorial integrity as the two governments are on the same page regarding the Kurdish Regional Government’s (KRG) ambitions for independence, he said.
In June, KRG President Masoud Barzani announced that they would hold a referendum on independence from Baghdad on Sept. 25.
The Iraqi government previously said it would reject any unilateral move by the KRG over a possible independence.
Al-Alawi also said the Sinjar region was liberated and it was under the control of the Iraqi army when asked about his government’s pledge to launch a military operation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) elements in the northwestern region.
“We don’t want the PKK or any other organization in our territory,” he added.