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20 agreements ready to sign during Turkish president's visit to Iraq on Monday

21 April 2024 20:15 (UTC+04:00)
20 agreements ready to sign during Turkish president's visit to Iraq on Monday

Preliminary work has been done on more than 20 agreements Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to sign during his visit to Iraq on Monday, said the Turkish foreign minister, Azernews reports, citing foreign media outlets.

“We have currently completed pre-agreements for the implementation and signing of more than 20 agreements during our president's visit,” Hakan Fidan told reporters on Sunday. “Tomorrow, hopefully, these agreements will be signed in the presence of political leaders.”

Fidan also pointed to long-standing efforts to reach agreements in fields such as security, energy, agriculture, water, health, and education.

“Our goal is to have a relationship where regional stability, prosperity, and development are possible, to institutionalize our relations in this way, and to do our best for the development and prosperity of the region,” he added.

Turkish-Iraqi ties

Fidan said Monday will mark the first visit since 2011 by the Turkish head of state. Erdogan visited the country that year while he was still prime minister.

"Both the Iraqi side and the Turkish side have attached great importance to this visit for a long time and have been preparing for it. There are ongoing intensive efforts,” he said.

Fidan highlighted that Türkiye aims for Erdoğan's visit to Iraq to be as productive as possible, underscoring that his vision for bilateral relations reflects Türkiye’s vision for the region.

Highlighting Ankara’s support for the steps taken by Sudani’s government for development and political stability, Fidan stated: "Iraq has gone through very difficult periods for many years. It’s been very challenging to achieve political stability. When there is no political stability, there are also significant problems in delivering the basic services that the people need."

Türkiye’s readiness to support Iraq

Despite Iraq's significant potential and opportunities, Fidan said that Iraq has faced major challenges in delivering basic services to the population.

He said the current Iraqi government has developed a strong awareness of this issue.

The Iraqi and Turkish governments have been discussing what can be done to address these challenges, he said.

He underlined that Türkiye is committed to providing "all kinds of support" for the development of sectors in Iraq such as irrigation, education, health, infrastructure, trade, and energy.

Fidan also said there have been intensive contacts between the countries’ Cabinet ministers, bureaucrats, and businessmen.

At this "mature point," there is agreement on Erdogan's visit to Iraq and the signing of a strategic framework agreement, he said.

Regional stability and prosperity

Fidan highlighted that the countries’ strategic framework agreement will outline a strategic vision of how cooperation can be conducted in multiple areas simultaneously.

"This will constitute an important roadmap for the future of the two countries' relations,” he said. “We aim to advance our relations by institutionalizing them, moving away from success through coincidence, making them more systematic, and demonstrating lasting benefits in relations between the two countries,” he said.

Fidan stressed the desire to avoid associating the region and Iraq with internal turmoil, war, or conflict, expressing hope for economic development and political stability to be the primary focus.

Pointing to Türkiye seeking cooperation in the fight against terrorism, Fidan noted that they are in extensive discussions with Baghdad on how significant strides can be made in combating terrorism without disturbing Iraq’s existing political balances.

Contacts with Iraq

Fidan recalled his visit to Iraq this March alongside National Defense Minister Guler, National Intelligence Organization head Kalin, and Deputy Interior Minister Karaloglu, and also a visit to Ankara by Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein and representatives from the Iraqi Defense Ministry, intelligence, and other security agencies.

“We extensively discussed the strategic framework of President Erdogan's visit to Iraq with our Iraqi counterparts. We believe that Iraqi-Turkish relations will set an important example in our region.

“Especially with the Development Road Project, which our president attaches great importance to, we believe that it will serve as a significant example for both the people of Iraq and the people of the region if implemented,” he said, referring to a project to connect the Persian Gulf from the al-Faw Grand Port by land routes to Türkiye.

Fidan expressed the need for the region to be associated with development, technology, prosperity, stability, culture, and art rather than conflicts and instability, stating that they strive for this.

Iraq's support for Türkiye on Gaza issue

Saying that Israel’s ongoing attacks on Gaza will also be discussed during Erdogan's visit to Iraq, Fidan stressed that Ankara and Baghdad share the same feelings on Gaza.

Fidan said Iraq supports Türkiye on Gaza within the international system, as it votes in coordination with Türkiye.

During Erdogan’s visit to Iraq, he will travel to both Baghdad, the nation’s capital, and Erbil, capital of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq.

"During President Erdogan's visit to Erbil, especially in meetings with regional government officials, I am confident that they will share their vision on strengthening our relationship and reminding them of their role in ensuring internal stability and peace in Iraq,” said Fidan.

Erdogan will hold a working meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' al Sudani in Baghdad, followed by the signing of agreements, said Fidan.

The Turkish president will also meet with his Iraqi counterpart Abdul Latif Rashid.​​​​​​​

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