Turkish PM invites Iraqi counterpart to Turkey

Turkish PM invites Iraqi counterpart to Turkey

Sevil Erkuş - ANKARA
Turkish PM invites Iraqi counterpart to Turkey Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım invited his Iraqi counterpart, Haider al-Abadi, to Turkey during a phone conversation between the two leaders on March 14, Iraqi Ambassador to Turkey Hisham al-Alawi told a group of journalists a day later.

The visit is likely to occur after the end of the Mosul offensive against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) which Iraqi officials hope to complete by the end of March, the ambassador said.

“Prime Minister Yıldırım has invited our prime minister to come and visit Turkey after the end of military operations, which, in my view is a clear indication of the commitment to resolve this [Bashiqa camp] issue in the timetable they agreed to,” al-Alawi said at a press conference with Hassan al-Jenabi, the minister for water resources, who has been paying the first official visit from the Iraqi government to Turkey since the normalization of ties between Ankara and Baghdad. 

“We are optimistic that developments on the ground and the commitment showed by the two governments will lead to a resolution of this problem that had many negative consequences on relations,” the ambassador said, referring to the Bashiqa dispute. 

The foreign ministers of the two countries are expected to meet before the gathering between Yıldırım and al-Abadi, but it is likely to take place after the April 16 referendum in Turkey.

Turkey has a longstanding military training mission at the Bashiqa camp, where Turkish soldiers have trained both Peshmerga fighters and local tribal volunteers in combat techniques.

The mission’s presence in Mosul in northern Iraq has led to tension between Baghdad and Ankara amid calls by some Iraqi politicians for Turkish troops to withdraw.

During a visit by Yıldırım to Baghdad, the two prime ministers agreed that Turkish troops would withdraw from the Bashiqa camp after the end of the Mosul offensive.

Turkey-Iraq to adopt trans-border water deal

Al-Jenabi said he had meetings in Ankara in a positive environment and reached an agreement on some measures as part of cooperation on water issues, including capacity development, water quality monitoring and environmental monitoring.

Turkey and Iraq agreed to adopt a memorandum of understanding on Transboundary Water Governance in the Euphrates Tigris River Basin in 2009. The two revised the deal in 2014, but the deal has not been implemented because it has not yet been adopted by the Iraqi parliament.