Gate across from Habur handed to Iraqi gov't 'without problems'

Gate across from Habur handed to Iraqi gov't 'without problems'

ISTANBUL - Agence France-Presse
Gate across from Habur handed to Iraqi govt without problems

The border gate across Turkey's Habur has been handed over to the Iraqi central government from the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the morning on Oct. 31, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said.

“There was no problem during the handover,” he said on Oct. 31, speaking to ruling Justice and the Development Party (AKP) lawmakers at parliament.

Turkish and the Iraqi central government officials will control the border from now on, he said, adding that transportation will continue on the current route.

“Those who take advantage of the route will be stopped,” he said, referring to KRG racketeering practices that affect trucks that use the Kurdish region to reach other parts of Iraq. “Step-by-step checks and illegitimate taxes across the border will be removed.”

The new practice will enable Turkey and Iraq to boost bilateral trade, Yıldırım stated.

Turkey and Iraq will launch a second border gate in the near future, which will pass through Tal Afar, the prime minister noted.

The Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has found itself increasingly isolated after holding a non-binding independence referendum on Sept. 25, opposed by the central Iraqi government in Baghdad as well as Iran, Turkey and Western allies.

In a visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to Ankara on Oct. 25, the two countries agreed to operate alternative border crossings and for Baghdad to gain control of the current Habur border gate from the KRG.

A second border crossing from Ovaköy into Iraq can be opened, but Iraq or Turkey should maintain security, Customs Minister Bülent Tüfenkçi said earlier.