Turkey's main opposition leader meets Iraqi PM

Turkey's main opposition leader meets Iraqi PM

Koray Çalışkan BAGHDAD - Radikal
Turkeys main opposition leader meets Iraqi PM

CHP Leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu met Nouri al-Maliki at the prime minister's office Aug.21.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu met Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Aug.21 in Baghdad, as the party leader underlined the CHP’s efforts to normalize relations between the two countries.

The prime minister welcomed Kılıçdaroğlu on the doorstep of his office. The CHP leader was accompanied by a high-level CHP delegation including the party’s deputy chairs, Faruk Loğoğlu and Gürsel Tekin. The press was not allowed into the hour-long meeting.

Loğoğlu said al-Maliki stressed his desire to mend strained ties with Ankara, see Turkish businessmen in Iraq and have the CHP take an important step to normalize relations.

In a short interview, Kılıçdaroğlu expressed discomfort at not being able to tour Baghdad because of security measures.

“You cannot understand a country if you do not join the people,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. “This shouldn’t be like that. Iraq is an important country. Turkish businessmen have a big share to earn. I told Mr. al-Maliki, and he vowed to take the required steps [to improve security].”

During the day, Kılıçdaroğlu gave a speech at the al-Nahrain Strategic Research Center, saying his party would support the people of the Middle East to determine their own future.

“The CHP will work actively for peace,” he said, adding that he “welcomed the contribution” of the Iraqi government to the U.N.-backed Geneva process bidding to end the crisis in Syria. “The Muslim world is capable of stopping ethnic and sectarian conflict,” the CHP head said.

Kılıçdaroğlu particularly underlined his sensitivity on the issue of secularism in the speech, and vowed to strengthen bilateral relations between Iraq and Turkey.