Turkey, Iraq to discuss opening of new border crossing

ANADOLU AGENCY
ANKARA
Published 14.08.2018 20:43

Turkish and Iraqi delegations will meet in a few weeks to discuss the opening of a new border crossing, Turkey's ambassador to Baghdad, Fatih Yıldız, said Monday.

A field visit is also expected following the meeting, Yıldız told Anadolu Agency (AA) on the sidelines of the 10th Ambassadors' Conference in the capital Ankara.

The planned Ovaköy Border Gate will directly link Turkey to Baghdad via a 570-kilometer highway.

Yıldız said the planned border terminal would also trigger an economic revival in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

Last week, Qazim al-Akabi, the head of Iraq's committee for border crossings, said the two sides had agreed to dispatch technical experts to the border region sometime next month to conduct a feasibility study.

About Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's upcoming visit to Turkey on Tuesday, Yıldız said counterterrorism and the reconstruction of Iraq would be on the agenda. "Now that Deash is gone, they should be inclined to fight against the PKK," Yıldız said.

"The Iraqis know how to fight terrorism. This is a fight for which power can be used when necessary."

Water, electricity and petroleum management in Iraq are also expected to be discussed.

Highlighting water as a significant area of bilateral relations, Yıldız said Turkey is ready to assist Iraq in water management and agricultural irrigation.

"Our understanding here is that water should become an area based on a cooperation, not separating the two sides," he said.

On relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Yıldız said Turkey is not likely to cooperate with it in case the KRG contemplates secession from Iraq.

"The KRG may find Turkey willing to work in cooperation when it acts as part of a united and integrated Iraq," the ambassador said.

The bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Iraq was recorded around $11 billion in 2017.

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