Turkish PM to visit Iraq on Nov 20
Speaking to reporters before his departure from Manila, Philippines on Nov. 18, Davutoğlu confirmed his trip to Iraq, starting on Thursday. AA PhotoTurkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is set to pay a two-day visit to Iraq on Nov. 20, a week after the Iraqi foreign minister held talks in Ankara as part of efforts to mend ruined ties between the two capitals.
Speaking to reporters before his departure from Manila, Philippines on Nov. 18, Davutoğlu confirmed his trip to Iraq, starting on Thursday. He will first go to Baghdad to meet the new Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, Iraqi President Fuad Masum and other high-level Iraqi officials. He is also expected to be in Arbil on Nov. 21 to meet Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani.
Davutoğlu’s visit comes just 10 days after Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jafeeri held talks in Ankara in a bid to repair ties ruined during Nouri al-Maliki’s rule. Following Davutoğlu’s visit to Iraq, al-Abadi is expected to pay a return visit to Turkey early next year as part of the revitalization of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council mechanism, in which the two sides will review opportunities for further cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, oil and natural gas, and building pipelines to carry them to European markets.
A recent deal between Baghdad and Arbil over the sale of oil and sharing the revenues of the energy resources is seen as a positive development in Ankara. The problems between the central and regional government were hindering Turkey’s ambitions to stand as the main gate for transferring Iraqi and northern Iraqi energy sources to world markets.
Apart from fixing bilateral relations and establishing a fresh dialogue between Turkey and Iraq, Davutoğlu’s visit will also focus on regional problems led by the growing threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Turkey and Iraq discussed ways for the training of Iraqi security forces during al-Jafeeri’s visit and are expected to move forward on the issue during Davutoğlu’s talks in Baghdad.
Davutoğlu’s visit to Arbil is also expected to address the ISIL problem, but will also help two sides to review ongoing cooperation.
Just before Biden’s visit
Davutoğlu’s visit to Iraq comes just a day before U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s scheduled visit to Turkey, during which he will hold meetings with top Turkish officials. Washington regards problems stemming from Iraq as more vital than those from Syria, and the mending of Turkey’s ties with Iraq is seen a crucial development to this end.