The Iraqi cabinet has approved a security cooperation protocol between the interior ministries of Ankara and Baghdad following Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu's recent visit to the country to boost bilateral ties.
According to information received from Iraqi sources, the protocol aims for coordination between the two countries on better functioning border security, which had been undertaken by border guard services of the Iraqi Interior Ministry, Anadolu Agency reported late Sunday.
The sources also suggested that Iraqi security forces are working intensely for a high-level of cooperation to prevent attacks to Turkish territories from northern Iraq. The PKK terrorist group has long used the northern Iraqi territories for training purposes and as camps to provide logistical support. The group has also carried out attacks from northern Iraq against Turkey.
The Qandil mountains, sited approximately 40 kilometers southeast of the Turkish border in Irbil province, are being treated as the headquarters of the PKK and its Iranian affiliate, the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), even though the region is under the de jure control of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani had blamed the PKK terrorist group for using northern Iraq to attack Turkey.
Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu paid a two-day visit to Iraq on Oct. 10 to develop bilateral relations through high-level meetings. Following the bilateral negotiations with Iraq's newly elected President Barham Ahmad Salih and KRG officials, Çavuşoğlu stressed that Turkey's Basra and Mosul consulates in Iraq, which were closed down in 2014 due to security reasons, will be re-aopened soon.
Turkey showed close cooperation with the Baghdad government during the independence referendum held on Sept. 25, 2017 in the KRG, emphasizing Iraqi territorial integrity, and said that the KRG's referendum was illegal. Ankara's stance and bilateral high-level visits that were carried out afterwards gave a new momentum to ties with Baghdad.
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