Erdogan hints at potential visit to Erbil after talks in Baghdad

Erdogan hints at potential visit to Erbil after talks in Baghdad

Shafaq News/ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hints at a potential trip to Erbil, northern Iraq, following his visit to Baghdad.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday after a Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara, Erdogan said Ankara and Baghdad are working together to solve the water issue, one of the main agenda items of his visit to Iraq.

"One of the most important agenda items of our visit is the water issue. They have made some requests regarding water, and we are working on these issues. We will make efforts to resolve this issue with them. They already want to resolve this matter. We will take steps in this direction," he said.

"There are also issues related to the natural gas and oil flow to Türkiye, and we will try to address them," he added.

"Following our visit to Baghdad, we may also visit Erbil and hold meetings with officials there. Our colleagues are continuing their work on this matter," he added.

On Russian President Vladimir Putin's next visit to Türkiye, Erdogan said, “We have frequent phone calls with Mr. Putin. The date for his visit to Türkiye has not been determined yet. I believe that this issue will become clear soon.”

The Turkish president's expected visit to Iraq in mid-April will likely advance discussions on an ambitious transport corridor project, as Ankara seeks increased cooperation in combating Kurdish militants who are engaged in fighting against Turkey.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan announced earlier this month that Erdogan will visit Baghdad following the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Among the top agenda items to be discussed during the trip, which will mark Erdogan’s first visit to the country since 2011, are security cooperation — particularly against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), efforts to resume oil flow from an oil pipeline linking the two countries and the Development Road project to link Ira's oil-rich southern Basra province to Europe via Turkey.

The Turkish president’s trip comes at a crucial time, right after Iraq made a significant gesture toward Ankara in banning the PKK. Headquartered in northern Iraqi Kurdistan, the PKK has been fighting Ankara for Kurdish self-rule inside Turkey since the 1980s. Turkey, the United States and most EU states consider the group a terrorist organization.

In turn, Turkey is likely to offer temporary relief for Iraq’s water shortage by releasing the gates of its many dams on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Water-sharing problems between the two countries remain one of the long-standing disputes.

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