Main opposition party leader’s Kirkuk, Najaf visits canceled over security concerns
BAGHDAD - Anadolu Agency
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (L) and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. DHA photoMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s visits to Iraq's Kirkuk and Najaf have been canceled over security concerns.
Kılıçdaroğlu is expected to return Turkey early tomorrow.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has reportedly advised the CHP delegation not to go to Kirkuk and Najaf. Violence has surged this year to levels not seen since Iraq was emerging from a Sunni-Shiite sectarian conflict in 2008. Prime Minister al-Maliki has vowed to press ahead with a campaign to try to stem the bloodshed, which has claimed more than 3,500 lives already this year.
Kılıçdaroğlu held talks with the chairman of the Iraqi Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee, Humam Hamoudi, and other committee members on Aug. 22.
Kılıçdaroğlu stressed that he hoped Turkish businessmen would play a role in Iraq’s reconstruction process. “We should cooperate in the cultural domain as well ... We want to repair some broken windows between Iraq and Turkey. If we can do that, we can bring it together with friendship and prosperity. Relations between peoples are important. We would like to live in peace with all of our neighbors, not just Iraq,” he said.