Erdogan’s Visit to Baghdad to Bring Turkey and Iraq Closer Concerning Kurd Separatists: Experts

Azerbaijan, Baku, 11 July / Trend corr S.Ilhamgizi, U.Sadigova/ During the visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Iraq, the key issue of discussion was joint struggle against terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

"Erdogan's visit to Baghdad promotes approachment of Turkish and Iraqi heads' positions on PKK," Turkish political expert Mustafa Ozcan said to Trend .

On 10 July, Turkish governmental delegation headed by Erdogan paid an official visit to Baghdad. Erdogan said at a joint press conference that terrorist organization PKK poses a threat not only to Turkey but Iraq as well. Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki said the two countries are the target for terrorists, but did not specify them.

Turkish expert on Iraq Ozcan thinks the visit is important for official Ankara not only in terms of struggle against terrorists but also in terms of economic cooperation.

" Iraq is one of Turkey's allies. Like in Iraq, many Kurds live in Turkey and many Turks live in Iraq. As to export of oil, Iraqi officials said preference would be given to neighbouring countries with one of them being Turkey," Ozcan said by telephone from Istanbul on 11 July.

He added that the countries in the region did not maintain relations with Iraq after the military intervention to Iraq in 2003. However, later Iranian President Ahmadinejad and Jordan king Abdullah I visited Iraq which revived its international relations.

"President of Iraq Talabani said that the links between ruling party of Turkey and Iraq are changing for the better and if Justice and Development Party is removed from the power, it can affect the bilateral relations. Therefore, Erdogan's visit to Baghdad was positively accepted by the Iraqi government," expert said.

According to Ozcan, an important stage in a fight against Kurd Labor Party began in November 2007.

"The meetings and discussions held yesterday provided new opportunities to bring heads of Turkey and Iraq to a common ground about Kurd Labor Party," Ozcan said.

According to Saleh Kaabi, the Iraqi political expert, Iraq attempted to fight Kurd separatist even before. "Iraqi authorities said that they are ready to help Turkey to fight Kurd Labor Party," Kaabi said to Trend from Baghdad.

According to expert, by making such statements, Iraqi authorities confirmed their position on KLP.

The Turkish Premier Erdogan visited Baghdad for the first time since1990. During his visit, Erdogan met with President of Iraq Jalal Talabani, Premier Nuri Al Maliki and chairman of the parliament Mahmud al Meshhadani. The parties signed an agreement on strategic and economic cooperation and integration.

The correspondent can be contacted at : [email protected]

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