Ankara is ready to boost cooperation with Iraq in the areas of infrastructure, security and defence, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih, in Ankara on Thursday.
Securing Iraq's political unity and territorial integrity as well as ensuring its stability and security are the basis of Turkey's policy on Iraq, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.
Erdogan was speaking at a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih in Ankara. The Turkish president said Iraq's standing on its own feet is very important for regional security and stability.
Erdogan said terror groups like Daesh, PKK and the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO) pose threats to both Turkey and Iraq, and the two countries should cooperate in fighting terror.
He said Iraq had triumphed in its fight with Daesh, but at a heavy cost, as thousands of Iraqis were martyred and Daesh razed culture and civilisation to the ground.
"Turkey gave firm support to Iraq for that tough fight," Erdogan said.
He also said that Turkey and Iraq will continue holding High Level Strategic Council meetings in 2019.
"We are ready to contribute to infrastructure and development projects in Iraq – construction of places which were harmed by conflicts being the priority," Erdogan said.
Turkey wants to boost security cooperation with Iraq, Erdogan said, adding, "there is a lot we can do with Iraq in the defence industry."
He said Turkey’s biggest expectation from the new Iraqi government is ensuring the welfare and well-being of all Iraqis.
Erdogan said in 2013 Turkey and Iraq hit a bilateral trade volume of $16 billion, a record level, but they could reach that level again and even get as high as $20 billion.
Turkish-Iraqi relations 'in full solidarity'
Iraq's Barham Salih, for his part, said his country is about to "enter a new phase."
He said reconstruction will make Iraq a strong country in the region again and that he was visiting “brother” nation Turkey "with the aim of cooperation in every field."
Iraq expects Turkey's help in reconstructing regions of the country free of the grip of terrorists, he said.
TRT World's Hasan Abdullah reports.
"I am visiting brotherly country Turkey with the aim of cooperation in every field,” Salih said, adding that relations with Turkey will be "shoulder to shoulder, in full solidarity."
He also said it is important for the Syrian people to choose their fate of their own free will, adding: "Turkey's and Iraq's roles play a big part in a solution."