To increase Turkey's representation in Iraq, Ankara is trying to reopen consulates in Basra and Mosul and open new consulates in the northern province of Kirkuk and the central province of Najaf. Meanwhile, efforts to rent property for a consulate general in Iraq's southern city of Basra are close to finalization.
"Turkey attaches significance to opening representatives in Iraq at the highest number possible in line with our comprehensive policies overseeing the stability of Iraq," a diplomatic source told Daily Sabah.
"Efforts to rent property for a consulate in Iraq's southern city of Basra is in the final stage. For Mosul, the search for suitable property continues," the source added. The Turkish Consulate in Mosul was taken over by Daesh on June 11, 2014, and the terrorists held captive 49 consulate personnel and their families, including Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Öztürk Yılmaz, who was then the consul general to Mosul. The hostages were safely returned to Turkey after 101 days of captivity.
In relation to the new consulate general offices to be opened in Najaf and Kirkuk, the source noted, "The Iraqi authorities have given approval to the opening of the Najaf Consulate General and our efforts for opening the Kirkuk Consulate General have been continuing."
Relations between the two neighboring countries have gained new momentum with high-level visits. In January, Iraqi President Barham Salih visited Turkey and held talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, agreeing on enhancing cooperation in all fields. Erdoğan noted that Turkey's Iraq policy is based on territorial integrity and ensuring stability and security, while calling on increasing cooperation against all terrorist groups including Daesh, the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and the PKK.
During the meetings, the sides evaluated future steps to be taken in various fields, including counterterrorism, the reconstruction of Iraq after the defeat of Daesh and the economy.
Turkey is to provide one of the largest loans to Iraq for its reconstruction after the three-year war with Daesh. In February, various countries pledged billions of dollars in loans and investments for the reconstruction of Iraq at the international donors' conference in Kuwait City. Turkey pledged $5 billion in loans and investments, making the country one of the top contributors for reconstruction in Iraq. Accordingly, Turkey will help redevelop the cities of Kirkuk, Mosul, Tal Afar, Baghdad, Irbil and Sulaymaniyah through the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA) to help Iraqis return to their homes.
Following the local elections slated for March 31 in Turkey, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu is expected to visit Iraq to hold talks on various issues such as future projects for the reconstruction of the country.
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