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21:18, 17 January 2018 Wednesday
14:30, 25 December 2014 Thursday

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Coldness between Iraq and Turkey over, says Turkish FM
Coldness between Iraq and Turkey over, says Turkish FM
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Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Iraq's new government under Haidar al-Abadi is inclusive of all groups in Iraq.

World Bulletin / News Desk
 
 The coldness between Iraq and Turkey relations is now over after the new inclusive Iraqi government took power, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday.

In a televised interview, Cavusoglu spoke about how tough the situation became during ousted Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's tenure. "Every little thing evolved to an issue and a problem during Maliki's term," he said.

"Maliki's government always saw the issues from a religious divide point of view," the foreign minister said. "We had already mentioned that four years ago, but finally everybody saw the reality," he added.

The former Iraqi premier and his government were widely criticized for discrimination on ethnic and religious grounds.

"Now that the coldness between Turkey and Iraq is over, we will accelerate our relations in every possible way," he said.

Cavusoglu also praised Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government and said the new set up was inclusive with Kurdish, Turkmen, Sunni, Shia and Arabic representation. "That is the way it should be," he added.

The Turkish foreign minister also appreciated a new deal between the government in Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government in Erbil on Dec. 2.

"We want Iraq's unity and its revenues to be equally distributed among its people," Cavusoglu said. "We are going to work with Iraq in the next term and we will hopefully boost the trade volume from $12 billion to $30 billion in the future," he added.

According to the agreement reached between al-Abadi and Kurdish Regional Government's Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, the Kurdish government will provide at least 250,000 barrels of crude oil per day to the federal government for export.

The deal also allows for the export of 300,000 barrels per day by the federal government from the Kirkuk oil fields through the oil pipeline in the Kurdish region. 

Cavusoglu also mentioned that Turkey would provide assistance in training of Iraq's security forces to deal with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

"Unfortunately, Maliki's forces abandoned Mosul to ISIL and left weapons behind," Cavusoglu said. "ISIL is our common enemy and we will cooperate against it," he added. 

- Russia and Turkey relations 

About Turkey's increasingly warm ties with Russia, Cavusoglu said Turkey did not act opportunistically.

"We did not say there are economic sanctions between the West and Russia, let's sell what we can do to benefit," Cavusoglu said. "We worked to eliminate obstacles to boost our economic ties," he said.

Russia currently provides nearly 50 percent of Turkey's natural gas.

About the six percent discount offer from Russia that President Vladimir Putin announced during his visit to Turkey in December, Cavusoglu said both countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding that did not have any legal binding.

"Our Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAS) and Russia's (GAZPROM) are currently working on the offer," he said.

While Russia wants to sell natural gas to Turkey at a six percent discount rate, Turkey aims to get a discount of 15 percent. 

The construction of a new pipeline to Turkey across the Black Sea was announced on Dec. 1 during Russian president's state visit to Turkey. The new Turkish pipeline will replace the South Stream pipeline to Europe via the Balkans, which Russian authorities have decided to renounce.  

"But our priority right now is to make the TANAP project happen," the foreign minister said.

The Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline or TANAP is planned to originate from the Georgia-Turkey border through Anatolia and extend 1242.7 miles (2,000 kilometers) to reach Greece. It will then connect with the Southern Gas Corridor that will carry natural gas from the Caspian Sea near Azerbaijan to Italy into Europe.

 



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