Turkey and Iraq will deepen their cooperation in the fight against terrorism, President Tayyip Erdoğan said on Jan. 3, stressing that securing Iraq’s political unity and territorial integrity, as well as ensuring its stability and security, are at the heart of Turkey’s policy on Iraq.
“We will be in an effort to develop our relations with our neighbor Iraq in all areas,” Erdoğan said, speaking at a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih.
Turkey will make every effort to help Iraq over its security, electricity problem and in energy as well, he added.
“Terror groups like ISIL, the PKK and FETÖ pose threats to both Turkey and Iraq, and the two countries should cooperate in fighting terror,” he said.
Iraq standing on its own feet is very important for regional security and stability, Erdoğan said, reaffirming support for Iraq’s reconstruction following the end of the fight against ISIL.
“There are lots we can do with Iraq in the defense industry,” the president also noted.
“We are ready to contribute to infrastructure and development projects in Iraq — construction of places which were harmed by conflicts being the priority,” Erdoğan said. Turkey and Iraq will continue holding High Level Strategic Council meetings in 2019, he added.
The Iraqi president, for his part, said Iraq expects Turkey’s contribution in reconstructing “terror-free regions” in the country.
“I am visiting the brotherly country Turkey with the aim of cooperation in every field, Salih said, adding that relations with Turkey will be “shoulder-to-shoulder, in full solidarity.”
The two countries can do a lot with their strategic location and this partnership will serve not only to two countries but also to the whole region, he noted.
Iraqi President Salih paid his first official visit to Turkey following his election in early October. Salih, a former prime minister of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) from the ranks of the Kurdistan Patriotic Union (PUK), is a familiar figure to Ankara and his election as the president of Iraq has been welcomed by the Turkish government.
Salih welcomed a Turkish decision to send a special envoy to Iraq to discuss water shortages in the country, partly blamed on Turkey which has stopped up the Tigris and Euphrates rivers as it builds dams.