Thursday May 30 2024

New beginning in Turkish-Iraqi relation

25 April 2024 18:55 (UTC+04:00)
New beginning in Turkish-Iraqi relation

President Tayyip Erdoğan visited Iraq after 12 years. Erdoğan, who first met with President Abdullatif Rashid in Iraq, then had a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Muhammad Shiya al-Sudani. Erdoğan made a joint statement with Sudani during the visit, which 26 agreements were signed between the two countries. Erdoğan emphasized that the visit was a "new beginning".

Emphasizing that the visit and the agreements signed will constitute a new turning point in Turkiye-Iraq relations, Erdogan continued as follows: “The 'Strategic Framework Agreement for Joint Cooperation', which we signed together with the Prime Minister, constitutes a solid road map. With the text, we decided to establish 'Joint Standing Committees' that will ensure the continuation and monitoring of technical negotiations in many areas such as security, counter-terrorism, economy, trade, energy, transportation, environment, trans-boundary waters, health and education. In addition, the texts signed on many topics, from security to trade, from transportation to agriculture, will strengthen the contractual basis of our relations and bring new cooperation opportunities. We will provide the necessary coordination to ensure that the agreements we have signed are fully implemented. We discussed Turkiye-Iraq relations in a wide range of aspects during the meetings.”

Cooperation in security and the fight against terrorism constituted one of our most important agenda items. We consulted on the joint steps we can take against the terrorist organization PKK and its extensions, which target Turkiye from Iraqi territory. We welcomed the declaration of PKK as a 'banned organization' in Iraq. On this occasion, I shared with my counterparts my strong belief that by being officially declared a terrorist organization, its presence in Iraqi territory will end as soon as possible. This is also a requirement of our law of neighborliness and brotherhood. We are ready to provide all the support that the Iraqi Government will need in every step it takes in this direction. Our expectations regarding the joint fight against FETO constituted one of our agenda items in this field.”

“Iraq is one of our leading trading partners. We want to increase our trade volume, which was around 20 billion dollars last year, to higher levels. We discussed the steps to be taken in this context with the Prime Minister. We evaluated what can be done to eliminate artificial obstacles to our trade. We touched upon the vital importance of the 'Development Path Project' in terms of this goal. "With the Memorandum of Understanding we signed, we have reinforced our determination regarding this strategic planning, which will make a great contribution to the stability and prosperity of our entire region, especially Iraq."

“I would like it to be known that we do not discriminate between different ethnic, sectarian or religious groups in our policy towards Iraq. Regardless of ethnicity and sect, the Iraqi people are our brothers and friends. We see all of Iraq as a whole and attach great value to Iraq's demographic richness. Hopefully, we will continue to view our relations with Iraq from the perspective of friendship, brotherhood and neighborhood law. As in the past, we will continue to support our Iraqi brothers in good and bad times. I believe that my visit, which took place at a critical period in terms of regional developments, will lead to new beginnings.”

Under the auspices of President Erdoğan and Iraqi Prime Minister Sudani, a quadruple memorandum of understanding was signed between Iraq, Turkiye, Qatar and the UAE regarding cooperation in the Development Road Project. The memorandum of understanding signed at the Government Palace in Baghdad took place under the auspices of President Erdoğan and Iraqi Prime Minister Sudani. Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Abdulkadir Uraloğlu, Iraqi Minister of Transport Rezzak Muhaybis, Qatar Minister of Transport and Communications Casim bin Seyf es-Sulayti and UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Suheyl Muhammed al-Mezrui were also present at the signing ceremony.

Prime Minister Sudani said, “We agreed on security cooperation that will ensure the stability of Turkiye and Iraq. We cannot allow an attack on another country from Iraqi territory. The security of Iraq and Turkiye is an indivisible whole."

During the meeting with Iraqi President Rashid, bilateral relations between Turkiye and Iraq, Israel's attacks on Gaza, regional and global issues and the fight against terrorism were discussed. Stating that Turkiye has expectations from Iraq regarding the fight against the terrorist organization PKK, and that Iraq should be cleared of all forms of terrorism, Erdogan said that the relations between Baghdad and the Northern Iraq Regional Government should be on track and the Turkmens should reach the position they deserve, for the stability of Iraq.

Stating that they are aware of the problems Iraq is experiencing regarding water, Erdoğan said, “It is a fact that the climate crisis and drought negatively affect Turkiye, as well as the whole world, as well as Iraq. In addition, the efficient use of water by preventing waste is as important as the amount of water. The 'Joint Standing Committee' we have established will further our cooperation in the field of water on a rational, scientific basis and taking into account our common interests. "With our meetings, we have once again confirmed our common will to develop our existing cooperation in energy, industry, health, education, science, tourism and other topics," he said.

Turkish flags were flying on the streets in Baghdad and Erbil, the capital of Iraq, due to Erdogan's visit. In Baghdad, banners read "We are honored by your visit." The banner were in Turkish and Arabic on the street where the shrine of Sheikh Abdulkadir Geylani is located. Iraqi and Turkish flags were also featured side by side on the banners.

After Baghdad, President Erdoğan went to Erbil. Erdoğan was welcomed at the airport by Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) President Nechirvan Barzani and KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani. Greeting the guard of honor, Erdogan then proceeded to the KRG Presidential Palace. Erdogan met with Nechirvan Barzani and Masrour Barzani here. The meeting between the delegations was closed to the press. Erdoğan then received the Chairman of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Massoud Barzani.


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