Turk­ish con­sulates in Iraqi cities of Basra, Mo­sul to re­open

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

FOR­EIGN Min­is­ter Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu an­nounced yes­ter­day af­ter meet­ing with Iraqi Pres­i­dent Barham Salih in the cap­i­tal Bagh­dad that Turkey will re­open its con­sulates in Mo­sul and Basra, which, for the past four years, have re­mained closed for se­cu­rity rea­sons.

TURKEY’S Basra and Mo­sul con­sulates in Iraq, which were shut down in 2014 due to se­cu­rity rea­sons, will re-open soon, For­eign Min­is­ter Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in Bagh­dad yes­ter­day dur­ing his two-day visit to Iraq.

“Turkey will re­open con­sulates in Iraq’s Basra and Mo­sul that had been closed due to se­cu­rity con­cerns. Iraq and Turkey are not only neigh­bors but also broth­ers; thus, we have to have co­op­er­a­tion and sol­i­dar­ity,” Çavuşoğlu said in a joint press con­fer­ence with Iraqi Pres­i­dent Barham Ah­mad Salih in Bagh­dad.

Daesh took over the Turk­ish Con­sulate in Mo­sul in June 11, 2014, and held cap­tive 49 con­sulate per­son­nel and their fam­i­lies, in­clud­ing main op­po­si­tion Repub­li­can Peo­ple’s Party (CHP) Deputy Öztürk Yıl­maz, who was then the con­sul gen­eral to Mo­sul. The hostages were safely re­turned to Turkey af­ter 101 days of cap­tiv­ity. The Basra con­sulate was also closed down in 2014 due to se­cu­rity rea­sons be­fore Daesh ter­ror­ists were de­feated in the coun­try. Turkey cur­rently has its em­bassy in Bagh­dad and a con­sulate in Ir­bil in north­ern Iraq.

“Turkey will con­tinue to de­stroy the ter­ror­ists in ac­cor­dance with in­ter­na­tional law, no mat­ter where they are. This fight [against ter­ror­ists] is not a vi­o­la­tion of Iraq’s ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity or an at­tack on it. It is our right un­der in­ter­na­tional law,” Çavuşoğlu added, re­fer­ring to Turkey’s cross bor­der op­er­a­tions into Iraq against the PKK ter­ror­ist group.

“From now on, fol­low­ing the for­ma­tion of it [the gov­ern­ment], we will con­tinue this fight to­gether with the Iraqi gov­ern­ment,” the for­eign min­is­ter said and added that Turkey will also sup­port re­con­struc­tion ef­forts in Iraq.

Ahead of his meet­ing with Salih, Çavuşoğlu met Iraqi Par­lia­ment Speaker Mo­hammed alHal­bousi in Bagh­dad.

Çavuşoğlu said that the main goal of his of­fi­cial visit is “to sup­port the pro­tec­tion of unity and sol­i­dar­ity of Iraq.”

“I hope that an em­brac­ing and com­pre­hen­sive gov­ern­ment will be formed. We think that the Iraqi par­lia­ment will play an im­por­tant role in the fu­ture of the coun­try,” he added.

The Turk­ish for­eign min­is­ter said that “from se­cu­rity to econ­omy,” Turkey is with the peo­ple of Iraq.

Hal­bousi said Çavuşoğlu’s visit will con­trib­ute to the fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries.

Re­call­ing the dam­age Daesh caused in Iraq, Hal­bousi called on Turkey for sup­port in the re­con­struc­tion of Iraq’s in­fras­truc­ture.

Dur­ing his of­fi­cial visit, Çavuşoğlu also met Adel Ab­dul-Mahdi, Iraq’s prime min­is­ter­des­ig­nate, Am­mar al-Hakim, head of the Na­tional Wis­dom Move­ment, a po­lit­i­cal coali­tion founded ear­lier this year to con­test Iraq’s May 12 leg­isla­tive poll.

Ear­lier, Çavuşoğlu met Ar­shad Sal­ihi, leader of the Iraqi Turk­men Front (ITF), Turk­mens MPs and politi­cians. Çavuşoğlu was also ex­pected to meet out­go­ing Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-Abadi and prom­i­nent Shia lead­ers Badr Hadi al-Amiri and Muq­tada al-Sadr dur­ing his visit.

Turk­ish For­eign Min­is­ter Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (L) meets with Iraqi Pres­i­dent Barham Salih in Bagh­dad, yes­ter­day.

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