Turkish ambassador to Iraq meets with Kurdistan Region PM in Erbil
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani received a Turkish delegation in Erbil on Wednesday that was led by the nation's ambassador to Iraq, Ali Rıza Guney.
In the meeting, which was also attended by the Turkish Consul General in the Kurdistan Region, Hakan Karacay, who took part in discussions about various issues of the day, including the "importance of consolidating comprehensive cooperation," between the two governments," especially regarding the economy and trade."
Turkish exports to Iraq amounted to $9.1 billion last year, with the first eight months of 2021 so far totaling $6.6 billion. Private Turkish investment in the Kurdistan Region is also significant.
Much of the recent diplomacy between the two Middle Eastern neighbors has centered around the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a group locked in a decades-long conflict against Ankara over Kurdish rights in Turkey that has led to tens of thousands of deaths on both sides.
The group is headquartered in the Kurdistan Region's Qandil Mountains, mostly in rural areas along the Turkish and Iranian borders where Turkey routinely targets the group's fighters, often several kilometers south of the Turkish border.
Officials from both Iraq and the Kurdistan Region have repeatedly called on Turkey and the PKK to take their fight away from areas populated by civilians, thousands of whom have been displaced or sustained damage to their farms, livestock, or homes. Others have suffered serious injury or even death as a result of skirmishes or Turkish bombardment of suspected PKK positions.