KRG Turkey’s natural extension, says Turkish deputy PM
WASHINGTON - Anatolia News Agency
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan says Northern Iraq has become an economically natural extension of Turkey, during a press metting in Washington. AA photoNorthern Iraq has become an “economically natural extension of Turkey,” Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan has said.
Turkey’s investments in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) region, the trade figures between the two sides, and energy projects between Ankara and Arbil, all contribute to the growing links, Anatolia news agency quoted Babacan as saying, after an International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) meeting held in Washington between April 18 and 20.
He also claimed that Turkey had avoided distancing itself too much from the Iraqi central government in Baghdad, noting that Turkey had a clear policy that respected Iraq’s territorial integrity and political unity. Turkey does not want to see Arbil and Baghdad drift apart, Babacan said, stressing that Baghdad should follow a “uniting policy” of close ties with the KRG.
Turkish firms’ investments in the region currently reach more than $700 million, the economy minister Zafer Çağlayan said at the beginning of this year. Exports to Iraq were worth around $11 billion last year. In addition, the government is continuing to encourage Turkish energy companies to sign more agreements with the KRG for the region’s rich oil and gas reserves. A leading Turkish energy company, Genel Energy, is particularly active in the region.
World Bank to prepare Turkey Reforms Catalogue
Meanwhile, Babacan said Turkey and the World Bank had been cooperating in a program involving 20 countries. Instead of recipes recommended by the World Bank, the countries that need economic reforms will be able to benefit from Turkey’s experiences through the program, he said. “The World Bank is content with the results,” he said, adding that the World Bank would be preparing a “Turkey Reforms Catalogue” for the program.
Meanwhile, Babacan also said the new cash repatriation regulation would only involve assets abroad. Babacan announced last week that the Finance Ministry was working on a new cash repatriation regulation, in order to draw back $130 billion worth of citizens’ money abroad. The timing for the cash repatriation code is perfect as it comes at a time when global tax havens are being phased out, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek had said.