Turkish president calls for accelerated ties with Iraqi counterpart

Turkish president calls for accelerated ties with Iraqi counterpart

Turkish president calls for accelerated ties with Iraqi counterpart

A hand out photograph made available by the offices of Iraqi President on August 11, 2014, shows newly elected Iraqi parliament speaker Salim al-Juburi (L) watching as Iraqi President Fuad Masum (2nd L) shakes hands with deputy parliamentary speaker Haidar al-Abadi (R) after he was tasked with forming a government during a brief ceremony broadcast on state television. AFP Photo

Ankara has been closely following political developments in neighboring Iraq, hoping to renew bilateral relations with the country following its strained relationship with outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

During his tenure as prime minister, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan faced direct confrontations with al-Maliki. However, sources from the president’s office told state-run Anadolu Agency on Sept. 9 that Erdoğan called new Iraqi President Fuad Masum and congratulated him for having new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s government approved in Parliament.

Erdoğan told Masum the new government must embrace all segments of Iraqi society for the country’s serenity and stability, while voicing his conviction that bilateral relations between Iraq and Turkey should grow in the new era, according to anonymous sources.

The Turkish president also pledged Turkey’s continuing solidarity with all segments of the Iraqi people. Erdoğan recalled the significance of the quick assignment of the critical posts of defense and interior minister for tackling security issues in Iraq.

For his part, Masum expressed his resolve to develop relations between Iraq and Turkey and noted he shared Erdoğan’s wishes for the improvement of bilateral relations, said the sources.

Displaying Ankara’s close interest in Iraq, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also congratulated al-Abadi, while Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu congratulated former Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari on his assignment as foreign minister in the new Cabinet.

Contact between Ankara and Baghdad have intensified as efforts for a U.S.-led coalition against jihadists in Iraq and Syria, which will also involve Turkey, are underway.

Regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia is set to host talks on Sept. 11 between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and ministers from 10 Arab states and Turkey. The leaders will focus on joint action against the Islamic State group.