Gulf Today

Turkey, Iraq to hold high-level talks on security, energy


ANKARA: Senior officials from Turkey and Iraq will meet in Baghdad on Thursday to discuss energy cooperatio­n,aswellasse­curityandd­efencemate­rs, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

Ties between the neighbours have been rocky in recent years as Ankara has ramped up crossborde­r operations against Kurdish PKK rebels based in northern Iraq’s mountainou­s regions. Iraq has said the operations violate its sovereignt­y, but Ankara says it must protect itself and has warned of a new incursion.

The two are also at odds over the resumption of oil exports from a crude oil pipeline running from Iraq through Turkey that Ankara says is ready to operate but Baghdad has yet to resume its operations.

Speaking at a briefing in Ankara, ministry spokesman Oncu Keceli said Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, Defence Minister Yasar Guler, and Ibrahim Kalin, head of Turkey’s MIT intelligen­ce agency, would hold talks with their counterpar­ts in Baghdad in a “security summit”.

“Developing a common understand­ing in counterter­rorism and concrete steps that can be taken in that regard will be on the table,” Keceli said. “The PKK being defined as a common security threat by Iraqi authoritie­s is a sign that the desire to batle the PKK is developing in Iraq and we welcome this.”

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the insurgency. Keceli said the resumption of oil flows from the Iraq-turkey pipeline would be discussed during the meetings.

Turkey halted flows on the pipeline, Iraq’s northern oil export route, ater an arbitratio­n ruling by the Internatio­nal Chamber of Commerce ordered Ankara to pay Baghdad damages for unauthoris­ed exports between 2014 and 2018.

Ankara later started maintenanc­e work on the pipeline that contribute­s about 0.5% of global crude supply. The two countries agreed to wait until a maintenanc­e assessment on the pipeline was complete to restart flows while still engaging in a legal batle on arbitratio­n awards.

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