Baghdad hopes Turkish-Iraqi relations to return to their previous level

Politics Materials 21 January 2012 17:45 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 21 / Trend A. Taghiyeva /

Iraq hopes that the Turkish-Iraqi relations, which have experienced some tension, will return to previous levels, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Iraqi parliament Hammam Hammoudi said in an exclusive interview with Trend.

He said that Turkey has developed relations with Iraq in all fields. This is the result of wise policy of the authorities of this country. In one of his statements, Prime Minister Erdogan criticized Iraqi internal policy. This caused the protests in some Iraqi circles. This was considered as the interference in its internal affairs.

"Iraqi officials' statement that Turkey interferes in its internal affairs was caused by a protest against Erdogan's criticism concerning Iraq's internal policy," Hammoudi said.
He also stressed that Turkish officials' other statements have clarified the issue. It was emphasized that these statements did not envisage the interference in Iraq's affairs. They were made because of the special attitude toward Iraq and its citizens.

The chairman of the parliamentary committee said that Iraq and Turkey have a cooperation agreement on the fight against terror.

"There is a Turkey-Iraq-U.S joint group on the fight against terrorism," he said. The serious steps were taken in this direction."
Hammoudi said that at present, this group faces some problems associated with the actions of armed militants. Another problem is that the Iraqi army and the army of the Kurdish administration of northern Iraq are unable to conduct a full-fledged fight against militants now.

"That is why, the Turkish army took this mission over," he said. "Its air forces repeatedly made mistakes while following and neutralizing the militants. As a result, civilian population was injured. However, the parties intend to continue their efforts to destroy terror."
Turkey has recently launched an active struggle against terrorism. The Turkish Air Forces strike blows on Kurdish separatists' positions in northern Iraq and Turkey.

Airstrikes on Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants' positions resumed after the militants' attack in south-eastern Turkey on August 17, 2011. As a result, nine Turkish military were killed.
In response to the attack of Kurdish rebels in the Hakkari province bordering with Iraq on October 19 2011, which killed 24 Turkish military and injured 18, the Turkish army launched a large-scale ground operation in five regions of Northern Iraq.

The conflict between Turkey and the PKK, demanding the creation of an independent Kurdish state, lasts for more than 25 years. It claimed more than 40,000 lives. PKK was recognized as the terrorist organization by the UN and the EU.
Hammoudi also stressed that the diversity of Iraq's ethnic composition is a factor of developing the relations with the Turkic countries.

Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrians, Arabs, and by religion - the Shiites, Sunnis and Christians live in Iraq. So, Iraq has developed relations with all countries of the region, he said.

"The Iraqi government, the parliament and all political parties have developed relations with the Turkic countries and Turkey," he said.

He highlighted the relations with Turkey. There are a lot of Turkish companies in Iraq, he said.
"There are more than 400 Turkish companies only in the Kurdish administration of northern Iraq," he said. "The imports of Turkish goods hit $5-15 billion annually. This indicates to the developed economic relations between the two countries."

The Iraqi Turkmen were among the major forces that contributed to the downfall of Saddam Hussein's regime. They are represented in the parliament of the country. Many of them are diplomats. Therefore, the relations between Iran and the Turkic countries are developed and promising, Iraqi MP said.