Turkey, Iraq on same page against terror groups, says Erdoğan
ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's remarks came at a joint news conference following a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi who is in Turkey to discuss regional, bilateral and economic ties.
Erdoğan said terror groups such as Daesh, also known as ISIL, as well as the PKK and FETÖ, were "common enemies" of both sides and underlined that separatist terrorist aims had no future in Turkey, Iraq or Syria.
Recent terror attacks have shown that the PKK's Syrian offshoot, known as the YPG, poses a threat to Iraqi security as well, the president said, referring to a YPG/PKK attack on Peshmerga forces in the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq on Wednesday.
Erdoğan went on to hail Baghdad's appointment of a Turkmen minister to its cabinet, adding that Turkey stood by Iraq without any kind of ethnic or religious discrimination be it concerning Turkmens, Kurds or Arabs, or the Shia and Sunni sects.
Protecting Iraq's political unity, territorial integrity, safety, and security are among Turkey's chief concerns, he underlined, expressing Ankara's willingness to contribute to Iraq's reconstruction.
On the economic front, Erdoğan noted that both countries could easily reach their trade goal of $20 billion and that the leaders agreed to help Turkish and Iraqi businessmen by removing obstacles in the way of commerce.
Further stressing that both countries shared a great potential in the energy sector, he called for the repair of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline - damaged by ISIL attacks - by which oil from Iraq's Kirkuk province could make its way to the global market in larger quantities than before.
Concluding his remarks, Erdogan said Turkey had improved its irrigation technology, wastewater management, and environmental practices and was willing to share its experience with Iraq, adding that an action plan had been shared with Iraqi authorities on the issue of water management between them.
'Iraq can't tolerate formation that threatens Turkey'
Iraq seeks to collaborate with Turkey against terror groups damaging regional stability such as ISIL, al-Kadhimi said, adding that Baghdad's stance was clear when it came to terrorism.
Speaking at the joint news conference, he stressed that Iraq cannot tolerate any formation that threatens Turkey.
The Iraqi premier went on to say that his country sought to build good relations with its neighbors and Turkey was one of the most significant regional economic stakeholders for Baghdad.
In cooperation with Turkey, Iraq can reconstruct from the devastation ISIL left in Iraq, he added.
In 2017, Iraq declared victory over Daesh/ISIS by reclaiming all its territory - about a third of the country’s area - invaded in 2014.
But the terror outfit still maintains sleeper cells and launches attacks periodically.
The Iraqi army continues to carry out anti-terror operations.