As the U.S.-led coalition continues operations to liberate Mosul of Daesh terrorists, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has reached an agreement with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on cooperative efforts in counterterror operations against the Daesh and PKK terrorist organizations, as well as other terror groups that threaten the stability and peace in Iraq.
The KRG prime minister arrived in Turkey early Wednesday morning where he met with Prime Minister Yıldırım at the Çankaya Palace in Ankara. The two addressed the latest developments in the Mosul operation during an hour-long meeting.
While Ankara has repeatedly expressed its concerns over Shiite militias affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), also known as the Hashd al-Shaabi, closing in on the Turkmen town of Tal Afar, Iraq's Haider al-Abadi, who has had several disputes with Ankara over the Mosul operation, claimed that the Hashd al-Shaabi would not be allowed to enter Tal Afar, saying, "Only the 72nd and 92nd brigades will enter the city."
Amid the agreement between Barzani and Yıldırım to cooperate in counterterrorism operations against all terror groups, KRG prime minister echoed the concerns of Ankara over Sinjar, addressing speculations that the PKK headquarters in northern Iraq are located in the city.
In addition to security matters, the two leaders addressed mutual political and economic issues, emphasizing bilateral relations as the key agenda of the meeting. While unconfirmed by Turkish officials, diplomatic sources have told K24 News that one of the main reasons for Barzani's recent visit was to discuss the possible establishment of a KRG representative office in Ankara, pointing to the KRG's budgetary plans for 2017 as an indication for the establishment of a possible KRG office in Ankara.
An expert from the Middle East Strategies Research Center (ORSAM) Bilgay Duman spoke with Daily Sabah regarding the matter, saying that the establishment of a KRG office in Ankara was not a new issue, noting that such a decision would give Turkey the upper hand in terms of influence over regional matters.
Duman pointed out that an office has already been established in Ankara for northern Iraq's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Kurdistan Patriotic Union (KYB), stressing that "If the KRG were directly represented in Ankara, it would not only validate Turkey's foreign policy on Iraq but would also allow for a comprehensive approach to restoring bilateral relations."
After meeting with Prime Minister Yıldırım, the KRG prime minister met with Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Wednesday afternoon before heading to Istanbul to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan where the Mosul operation once more topped the agenda, along with recent regional developments.
Despite long debates regarding the Bashiqa camp in northern Iraq, reports have indicated that a second training camp could be established in Iraq, an issue that was addressed during the meeting between Erdoğan and Barzani that National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan also attended.
Regarding the possible establishment of a new training camp in Iraq, ORSAM expert Duman stated that, "All options are currently on the table."
He added that Turkish and Iraqi officials have reached a partial agreement on the Bashiqa camp which includes the transfer of the training camp to another location.
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