Turkey, Iraq refresh vows to mend ties

Turkey, Iraq refresh vows to mend ties

Turkey, Iraq refresh vows to mend ties

Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoğlu is greeted by Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari at Baghdad airport, Nov. 20. AA Photo

Turkey and Iraq have reinforced their pledge to mend ties during the Turkish prime minister’s visit to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, agreeing on closer cooperation against Islamist jihadists’ threat and revive economic ties with a greater momentum than before.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s visit to the country, a vast part of which has been swept by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants since June, is the latest of a series of signs that mark determinations to open a new page in bilateral relations, which were strained during the former Iraqi government’s reign.

The countries repeatedly clashed in a variety of issues including the independent oil exports of the Kurdistan Region Government (KRG) and the Syrian war during the term of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

However, in the face of a common threat from ISIL and with the relief of a recent Arbil-Baghdad agreement over oil exports, Davutoğlu, and his Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi were confident in recovering their relations to make them even stronger than before.

“Iraq’s stability and peace is Turkey’s stability and peace,” Davutoğlu said during a joint news conference with al-Abadi on Nov. 20. “Only few countries in the world match up to this extent in terms of historical and social relations, as well as the threats and advantages they face,” he stated.

Al-Abadi, meanwhile, announced the neighbors have agreed to share intelligence and information against ISIL.

The Iraqi prime minister added talks on cooperation opportunities over security and military fields will be continued with joint works of the two countries’ delegations.

The prime ministers also announced al-Abadi will come to Turkey in December upon Davutoğlu’s invitation.

“I invited Mr. al-Abadi and his ministers to a joint Cabinet meeting on one of these dates: Dec. 24, 25 or 26 and he accepted it,” Davutoğlu said. Al-Abadi also confirmed a visit to Turkey in December is on his agenda.

Davutoğlu also held a meeting with Iraqi President Fuad Masum and Parliamentary Speaker Salim al-Jabouri before departing for the KRG’s capital Arbil, where he was set to meet with Kurdish officials.

Davutoğlu’s visit followed a trip to Turkey by Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari earlier this month that was aimed at patching up the chilly ties between the two neighbors.