Turkish minister likens Turkey, Iraq to adjacent stores

Turkish minister likens Turkey, Iraq to adjacent stores

Turkish minister likens Turkey, Iraq to adjacent stores

The West Qurna oilfield in Basra, Iraq is seen in this file photo. Iraq says ties with Turkey will go beyond energy trade. REUTERS photo

Turkey has no hidden agenda against Iraq’s territorial integrity, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan said yesterday, adding that Turkish firms would invest in various growing sectors within the neighboring country.
Çağlayan said Turkey and Iraq were like the owners of two neighboring stores who love each other, but never buy goods from one another.

“I would like to express one thing clearly; Iraq and Turkey have been living in peace, unity and solidarity throughout history. Turkey has never had a hidden agenda against Iraq and will never have one,” Çağlayan said at the opening ceremony of the Ninawa International Investment Conference, which was held in Istanbul yesterday.

“Our only hope for Iraq is to secure uniformity among the country’s religious and ethnic groups. The incidents, which took place after the U.S. soldiers left the country, sadden us and we want the bloodshed to end in Iraq,” he said.

Çağlayan also said more than 1,200 Turkish firms have investments in Iraq and that number will have soon increased.

Road and residential construction, irrigation projects, solid waste management, pharmaceutical, agriculture and tourism industries will be Iraq’s main development areas, Çağlayan said.

Osama al-Nujaifi, Iraq’s parliamentary speaker also said Turkey has the power to change Mosul’s destiny given that Turkey is very advanced in the areas of industry and technology and has a strong expertise, which it can pass on to Iraq. He called on Turkish investors to invest in Ninawa, saying that it had a very strategic geopolitical location in Iraq. He said that Ninawa provided an environment with a promise for the future with its rich natural resources, labor force and strong economy.

“We will support your investments in all sectors be they economic, development or services. The most important thing here is stability and power. Continuity and trust is key,” he said.