Turkey’s prime minister meets with Iraq’s Kurdistan leader

January 8, 2017 9:30 pm
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has met with Masoud Barzani, the president of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), in Erbil to discuss a range of regional issues.
Local media reports said on Sunday that Yildirim and Barzani were expected to discuss trade and investment as well as the fight against the Daesh Takfiri terrorists.
Relations between the KRG and the central Iraqi government in Baghdad have been tense over long-standing territorial, oil and payment disputes. Baghdad accuses the Turkish government of meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq.
Yildirim arrived in Baghdad on Saturday for a two-day visit, the first since relations between the two neighboring countries began to sour over a dispute on ’s military presence in the Iraqi town of Bashiqa.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, right, shakes hands with Masoud Barzani, the president of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), before their meeting in Erbil, January 8, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi earlier said his administration had reached an agreement with Turkey over Baghdad’s demand for the withdrawal of Turkish military forces from a camp in Bashiqa. Iraqi sources have not provided further details about the agreement.
Turkey deployed about 500 troops to the facility last year, saying it was wary of potential attacks by Daesh.
Iraq has repeatedly called on Turkey to withdraw its forces or risk a potential confrontation with the Iraqi military, which is currently battling Daesh in the northern city of Mosul. Baghdad has also rejected Ankara’s call for a contribution to the Mosul liberation operation.
Sources in Ankara had speculated that Yildirim’s discussions in Iraq would include the Bashiqa dispute, the fight against Daesh, and the issue of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
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