‘Political row not to affect Iraq trade’

‘Political row not to affect Iraq trade’

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
‘Political row not to affect Iraq trade’

A truck enters Turkey through Habur, the border gate with Iraq. DHA photo

Political unrest between Ankara and Baghdad recently peaked with strongly worded statements Jan. 13 from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accusing Turkey of interfering with Iraq’s internal affairs. But such developments would not change the trade and investment bonds between the countries, a top Iraqi official said.

“There are more than 1,000 Turkish firms operating in Iraq, helping the country transition from a war-torn dictatorship to a democratic country,” Ali Muhsin al-Allaq, secretary general of Iraq’s Cabinet, told Hürriyet Daily News at “The Study Mission on Public Private Partnership-Iraq Public Sector Modernization Project” meeting in Istanbul.

“Turkey and Iraq’s bilateral trade has grown hugely, and I expect it to expand even further in the future,” said al-Allaq, who previously served as the chief inspector general of the Iraqi Ministry of Oil.
“Many international firms had hesitated to take part in the investment projects in Iraq due to security issues, but Turkish firms have presented a great model and example for them in demonstrating Iraq is a place to invest,” al-Allaq said.

He said Iraq still needs Turkey’s expertise in developing infrastructure projects in the country.
The total volume of bilateral trade hit $12 billion by the end of last year, according to the official data.
Baghdad Gov. Salah Abdul Razaq said at the meeting, “Turkey could be a great model in investment models for Iraq.” The business climate would continue to increase in upcoming years, he said.