Ankara eyes anti-terror cooperation with Arbil
ARBİL – Anadolu Agency
Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu (L) with KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani (R) in Arbil on Nov. 4. AA PhotoThe Turkish government aims to establish cooperation with the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on anti-terror issues, Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu said during his meeting with KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in Arbil on Nov. 4.
During his first visit abroad since the Nov. 1 snap election, Sinirlioğlu said Turkey and the KRG needed to cooperate, “especially in the fight against terror in the region.”
“The cooperation between Turkey and the KRG should be enhanced in every aspect. Cooperation is especially important to eradicate the roots of terror in the region,” he was quoted as saying in the written statement issued by the KRG on its website.
Sinirlioğlu said Ankara saw the KRG as an element for stability in the region, adding that cooperation and harmonious work between the two was of great importance.
“[This cooperation] is generally fruitful for our region,” the statement quoted him as saying.
In the meeting, Prime Minister Barzani reportedly congratulated Turkey for the elections on Nov. 1 and said they wished for relations between the two sides to continue to strengthen.
Barzani also mentioned the economic and political crisis currently shaking the KRG, saying Arbil was trying to “solve problems through dialogue and negotiations.”
The visit comes at a time of heightened political tension in the KRG. President Massoud Barzani’s mandate expired on Aug. 20 but rival factions have yet to agree on the terms to extend his tenure.
As the political division between the Barzani-led Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the opposition Goran has deepened, a growing economic crisis has also spilled onto the streets through violent protests.
Prime Minister Barzani has reshuffled his coalition cabinet amid an escalation of protests across the region over unpaid salaries.
As part of his visit to Arbil, Sinirlioğlu also met with President Barzani, though no official statement was issued about the meeting.
Sinirlioğlu also attended a conference titled “Sharing Visions for the Future of the Middle East,” organized by the Middle East Research Institute (MERI) in Arbil.