Southeastern Anatolian businesses hopeful on Iraq

Southeastern Anatolian businesses hopeful on Iraq

GAZİANTEP - Anadolu Agency
A recent thaw between Turkey and Iraq could be very good for Southeast Anatolia’s welfare, according to businesspeople in the region.

“Iraq is Turkey’s second biggest trade partner. The country ranks first in our exports. The warming relations will improve our relations more, to be sure,” said the head of the Southeastern Anatolia Exporters Associations, Abdulkadir Çıkmaz.

The region’s export volume to Iraq reached $3.4 billion in the first nine months of the year, mainly thanks to exports to northern Iraq.

“With the rise in in the warming messages by the two countries’ politicians, we expect to reach $6 billion of exports by the end of the year,” he said.

“We are very hopeful for the future, and we believe we’ll make more business with our Iraqi counterparts,” said the head of the Southeast Industrialists and Businesspeople Federation, Kasım Fincan.

Turkish small- and medium-sized enterprises want to make more business in Iraq, so the Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce will open a communication office in Arbil, said the head of the chamber, Eyüp Bartık.

“We want to increase our trade relations with Iraq to the highest level possible. If the Turkish government helps us here, we’ll move faster,” Bartık said.

Baghdad had previously accused Ankara of meddling in its internal affairs on a sectarian basis and had also expressed anger after Turkey gave sanctuary to fugitive former Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, a Sunni, but the countries’ two prime ministers appear ready to meet to bury the hatchet.