Turkey supports strong ties between Baghdad, Arbil: Envoy

Turkey supports strong ties between Baghdad, Arbil: Envoy

BAGHDAD – Anadolu Agency
Turkey supports strong ties between Baghdad, Arbil: Envoy

Turkey supports improved ties between Baghdad and Arbil, Turkish Ambassador to Iraq Fatih Yıldız said on April 5, adding that outstanding differences should be resolved in accordance with Iraq’s constitution.

Relations between Baghdad and the Arbil-based Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) have remained tense since a referendum in September 2017 on Kurdish regional independence.

Following the poll, Iraqi federal forces moved into parts of Iraq “disputed” between Baghdad and the KRG, including the oil-rich Kirkuk province.

Peshmerga forces had seized control of military bases and oilfields in Kirkuk in 2014 following clashes with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Federal forces now have full control of Kirkuk’s Bai Hassan and Baba Gurgur oil facilities, which were seized by the Peshmerga following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. 

Following last year’s referendum, Baghdad imposed other punitive measures on Arbil, including a ban on international flights into and out of the Kurdish region and the closure of the region’s international border crossings.

“The consolidation of relations between Baghdad and Arbil within a single, unified Iraq is in Turkey’s interest,” Yıldız said.

Yıldız added that Turkish military operations remained underway against outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) elements in northern Iraq, “but there are no Turkish military activities in Mosul’s Sinjar district.”

“The Iraqi army is conducting special security operations with a view to regaining full control of Sinjar and its environs,” he asserted.