Iraq, Turkey agree to open 'new page' in relations
The new Iraqi government heralds the opening of a "new page" in Iraq-Turkey relations, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu

A "new page" has been opened in Iraq-Turkeyrelations thanks to the new and inclusiveIraqi government, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.

Cavusoglu's remarks came Wednesday at a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart, Ibrahim al-Jafari, who is inTurkeyfor a three-day visit.

"With this visit, we can say that a new page has opened in our relations. There is a muchmore inclusive government nowand we expect it to embrace all Iraqi people,"Cavusoglu said, referring to the new Iraqi government established on Sep. 8.

TheIraqi parliament approved the new Cabinet on Oct. 18, a move hailed at the time by Cavusoglu as"an important step of an inclusive political beginning" that is essential for solvingIraq’s crises."

"Our relations have deep, strategic roots,"al-Jafarisaid, adding that althoughTurkey-Iraqrelations suffered in the past,"we should leave the past in the past, and look to the future now.We should open a new page."

Cavusoglu explained that the problems that the two countries had in the past stemmed from the previous Iraqi government.

"We are pleased about this new and inclusive politicalopening," he added, and reiterated Turkey's support toIraqin its fight against the extremist Islamic State ofIraqand the Levant, or ISIL.

Al-Jafarisaid that the operation against ISIL was a national operation undertaken by the Iraqi security forces.

"We are against foreign troops. However, we are ready to accept all kinds of help offered to us," al-Jafariexplained, as "this would makeIraqstronger in its fight against the ISIL."

"I hope thatTurkeywill continue its support to Iraq," he added.

Cavusoglu said that the Iraqi government had already taken some steps towards the restructuring of their security forces, and the defense and interior ministers asked for Turkey's support in training and equipping Iraqi soldiers and police.

"We are going to give this support," he confirmed.

Cavusoglu also said that airstrikes alone would not be enough to eradicate the threat of terror inIraqand Syria, and the international coalition against ISIL had to come up with a "comprehensive strategy" to root out terror.

"If we saythat we can fight terror without eliminating the reasons behind it, we would only bedeceivingourselves. This fight has three dimensions: military, politicaland humanitarian.And we are doing our part,"he said.

He addedthatTurkeywould continueto stand byIraqto "protect its political unity and territorialintegrity."

This is al-Jafari's first visit toTurkeysince 2006, when he was the prime minister of the Iraqi transitional government.

The two foreign ministers also signed a memorandum of understandingwith regards to the mutual abolition of visas for holders of diplomatic, service and special passports.


Last Modified: 2014-11-06 09:34:31
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