Iraq vows to stand by Turkey against terror
Turkey and Iraq have vowed to jointly fight against terror and advance cross-border trade, according to remarks after a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iraqi Prime Minister Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi.
“We have confirmed that we prioritized the development of a trade corridor extending to the south of Iraq and, on the issue of Iraq’s reconstruction, the development of the regions most affected by the Deash [the Arabic acronym for ISIL] invasion,” Erdoğan said after a joint press conference in Ankara May 15.
The two leaders also discussed the construction of dams following floods in Iraq and as well as the reconstruction of areas devastated by ISIL, Erdoğan added.
Turkey offered Iraq to help meet its short-term electricity requirement, he said.
The Iraqi and Turkish leaders highlighted the importance of reopening the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline which has been vandalized by ISIL. Turkey is likely to look to Iraq for its oil supplies after the U.S. announced an end to waivers that have allowed Turkey to import from Iran despite sanctions.
“We will never accept any security threat against Turkey stemming from the territory of Iraq,” Abdul-Mahdi said on his part.
The Iraqi prime minister noted that his talks in Ankara were very positive. Iraq is willing to “jointly fight against terror,” he also said.
Following the visit of the Iraqi prime minister, a Turkish delegation chaired by Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan will attend the Turkey-Iraq Business Forum in Baghdad.
The two countries are also in discussions to sign a mutually beneficial military cooperation and trust agreement.
“We have decided adherence to the fight against the terrorist organization Deash [ISIL], PKK and FETÖ and so on, and make military cooperation and trust agreement between Turkey and Iraq,” Erdoğan said.
The defense ministers and intelligence chiefs of the two countries will meet soon to discuss further details of the planned agreements, Erdoğan said.
“We welcome the recent steps taken by Iraq to improve its relations with the international community. I believe that by reestablishing its regional role, Iraq will make more significant contributions to peace and stability,” he added.
Erdoğan also stated that Turkey and Iraq are on the same page regarding Syria’s territorial integrity.
Erdoğan noted his plans to visit Iraq as part of the 4th High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council meeting towards the end of this year.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu held meetings in Baghdad, Basra and Arbil last month.
In a sign to further enhance ties, the Iraqi government had given permission to Turkey to reopen general consulates in Mosul and Basra, as well as to launch a consulate in Najaf. Çavuşoğlu said opening a consulate in Kirkuk is also on the agenda.