Turkish prime minister in Iraq to mend relations

World Today

The Prime Minister of Turkey is in Iraq. He’s meeting with Iraqi leaders, not only to strike a deal, but also to mend ties.

CGTN’s Michal Bardavid reports from Istanbul.

Turkish prime minister in Iraq to mend relations

Turkish prime minister in Iraq to mend relations

The Prime Minister of Turkey is in Iraq. He's meeting with Iraqi leaders, not only to strike a deal, but also to mend ties. CGTN's Michal Bardavid reports from Istanbul.
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Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim began his visit in Baghdad meeting with his counterpart Haider al-Abadi. The talks are aimed at increasing cooperation but also mending ties.

Relations have been strained between Ankara and Baghdad since October over the presence of Turkish troops in Bashiqa to fight ISIL inside Iraq each side had summoned the other’s ambassador Baghdad claims Turkey was violating Iraqi sovereignty.

Iraq’s prime minister announced on Sunday the two sides had reached an agreement, but Iraqi state television did not provide details. Yildirim emphasized the withdrawal of troops would be solved eventually, in a “friendly manner” but fell short of indicating an agreement of when and how the Turkish troops would return to Turkey.

“Iraq’s sovereignty and the unity of Iraqi territories are a very sensitive issue to us. This issue will be resolved when peace prevails in that area,” Yildirim said.

Some Iraqi officials welcomed the visit as a sign of good will.

“A visit by a high-level delegation to Iraq at this time is a recognition by the Turkish side of their past mistakes toward Iraq and an effort to build a new page on the economic, political, diplomatic and security levels. I think the Turkish military presence in Bashiqa was aimed at being a part of the battle of Mosul against ISIL, they wanted to leave a mark there,” said Mohammad Hussam Hamsouine, of the National Union Party.

Economic relations were also discussed, as both sides want to boost trade volume and increase cooperation on tourism and cultural activities. The Turkish Prime Minister also travelled to Erbil and met with Iraqi Kurdish officials.

Yildirim reiterated that Turkey cannot allow the Kurdistan Worker’s Party known as the PKK to launch terrorist attacks on Turkey from Iraqi territory.